Journey of healing to Europe planned for Aboriginal veterans
(NC)-This fall, as Canadians prepare to celebrate Remembrance Day and the Year of the Veteran, Aboriginal spiritual leaders, Veterans and youth will participate in an Aboriginal Spiritual Journey to Europe.
A ceremony to call home the spirits of fallen warriors will be held. While there, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Veterans and youth will visit European battlefields and cemeteries. The spiritual journey is expected to be a source of healing and closure for Aboriginal Veterans and their families, and will provide an opportunity for Veterans to pay final respects to their fallen comrades. It will also serve to educate Canada’s youth, Canadians and Europeans about the proud tradition of service and sacrifice by Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis warriors.
This journey was initiated by Aboriginal Veterans’ organizations and is being undertaken with the support of the Government of Canada, through Veterans Affairs Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.
Upon returning from Europe ceremonies to receive the spirits of fallen warriors will be held in Aboriginal communities throughout Canada. All Canadians are encouraged to learn more about the ctributions and sacrifice of warriors.
Aboriginal peoples from every region of Canada served in the Armed Forces during the Second World War, fighting in every major battle and campaign of the conflict. To serve their country in the Armed Forces, Aboriginal Canadians had to overcome unique cultural challenges.
At least 3,000 status (treaty) Indians – including 72 women – enlisted, as well as an unknown number of Inuit, Métis, and other Aboriginal peoples. The actual numbers were no doubt much higher. Among this small number of identified Aboriginal members of the Forces, at least 17 decorations for bravery in action were earned.
Canadians wishing to learn more about the voyage of healing should go to canada.gc.ca, click on Veterans in the A – Z index and go to the Aboriginal Spiritual Journey section.
– News Canada