OTTAWA, Nov. 8, 2016 /CNW/ - Coast to coast to coast, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples have made many immeasurable contributions to Canada's armed forces that have help shape Canada. Indigenous men and women have helped define our military history for over 200 years. As many as 12,000 served Canada in the great conflicts and peace support missions of the 20 th century, with at least 500 giving their lives. In this century, Indigenous Veterans have served with honour and distinction overseas and their dedication continues in peacekeeping operations in faraway lands. Today, on Aboriginal Veterans Day, all Canadians are encouraged to join in honouring and thanking these Indigenous men and woman and to help preserve their legacy for future generations. Quotes "Veterans' Week is a time to remember the courage and sacrifice of those who have served Canada from past to present, and express our endless gratitude for their service. As we pause today to mark Aboriginal Veterans Day, we thank the thousands of Indigenous Canadians in uniform who answered the call of duty and made the ultimate sacrifice. Their contributions and efforts have helped our country in its efforts to make this world a safer place." The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence "Reconciliation is about all Canadians making efforts to better understand our history and chart a new path together, and that includes learning about the sacrifices made by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women and men serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Today we thank and honour all those who served, those who lost their lives and those whose lives were changed forever."