Couple Looks to Honour Indigenous Korea War Vets

(The Selkirk Record)  Sgt. Tommy Prince, one of Canada’s most decorated Indigenous veterans, fought in the Korean War more than 60 years ago and is now being honoured for his service.

Wonjae Song and Olivia Do, a couple from Winnipeg, have been locating Canadians who are Korean War veterans for about four years. They are passing the information on to Canada’s Korean consulate, which awards the veterans with medals and certificates, honouring their service.

Song and Do are now pushing to find Indigenous Canadian veterans.

Prince died in 1977 at the age of 62. On January 20, Song and Do, honoured Price by presenting a medal to his son and nephew.

Since 1918, status Indians became exempt from the Military Services Act, meaning they didn’t have to join the military but some still did as volunteers.

“In spite of the dark history of Canada towards our people, our Indigenous worries have never failed to step up,” Bear said.

So far, Song and Do have handed out about 50 medals to Korean War veterans and descendants.

When they first started getting touch with veterans, most of them were white, they said, and not many Indigenous people were being recognized.

Song is the publisher of “The Diversity Times,” and Do is the managing editor at “The Korea Times,” both of which appear in one monthly publication.

When Song and Do get in touch with a veteran, they share the story in their publication.

Do said one of the newspaper’s mandates is to “help Koreans to understand our societal system and Canadian cultures,” and sharing stories of Indigenous people is a way to achieve this.

“We believe the Koreans need to integrate with other cultures, Do said.

The couple has also hosted exhibitions displaying photos related to the Korean War.

Do and Song immigrated to Canada from Korea in 2004. They say they have such a strong interest in the Korean War since many people call it the “forgotten war.”

“When we met Korean War veterans, they told is that the Second World War history is well known,” Song said. “We don’t want the Korean War forgotten.”

Anyone the knows a Korean War veteran who are Indigenous Canadians or are their descendants are being asked to email Wonjae Song directly at thediversitytimes@gmail.com.  (Source: The Selkirk Record, February 2nd, 2017. By Kaitlin Vitt)