Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembering - Meyer

For the second year in a row, I celebrated Remembrance Day in the First Nations community of Norway House. And once again, I was powerfully moved by the service.

Standing out on a point with an icy wind blowing off the frozen lake, I hear, accompanied by the sound of a cannon firing a 21-gun salute, each of the names of those residents of Norway House who honoured our country by serving in the armed forces. Seven community members gave their lives on the battlefield during World War 1 and seven during World War 2. Approximately 150 people from Norway House have served in the Canadian armed forces.
(Photo: Lowering the flag to half mast for ceremony)

What is significant to note is not just the sacrifice that these young men faced on the battlefield but what was awaiting them upon their returned home. Those who chose to serve their country in this manner lost their treaty rights and that meant that their children and their grandchildren also lost their treaty rights. For many, this meant that after they had risked their lives on the battlefield, they returned to find their homes were gone (First Nations people were not permitted to own their own homes but lived in band housing reserved for those who had treaty rights within that band). Many also found that the easy camaraderie that they felt with their fellow soldiers on the battlefield was replaced with a sense of not belonging anywhere - not back on their home reserves and not in mainstream society.
To all those First Nations soldiers who fought for our freedom and sacrificed so very much...
thank you.
Dorene Meyer
(Photo: Laying the wreath on behalf of mothers and youth)

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