SASKATOON — Not even snow showers and the -10° C weather could stop the ceremony on Tuesday by Métis Nation-Saskatchewan to honour the sacrifices made by Métis veterans in various conflicts around the world.
Inclement weather delayed the private gathering to pay respect to all Métis veterans and their families. The service began with lighting the ceremonial eternal flame at Batoche Festival Grounds.
MN-S President Glen McCallum led the wreath-laying ceremony with representatives and other dignitaries from across the province.
McCallum said Métis citizens all over the country have a long history of joining the Canadian Armed Forces to answer the call of bearing arms to defend the rights of families and the country.
“Métis people have a long history of answering the call to take up arms to defend our rights, our families, and our country. It is important to remember and honour the legacy and commitment of our Métis Veterans. The monument at Batoche recognizes their sacrifices and allows us to remember them always,” said McCallum.
“To be able to see the interest in how First Nations and Métis people stood up for the right to be free that we get to enjoy today. We will never forget the sacrifices some had made that did not come home and the people that have been recognized on this monument, the names, my uncle’s name included. There are many names across Canada, and today we remember and thank you for what you’ve sacrificed.”
The event was live-streamed to allow others who can’t travel to Batoche to witness the intimate ceremony that MN-S officials and other dignitaries attended. This was also the second year MN-S commemorated Indigenous Veterans Day at the Batoche monument.
Veteran Felix Merasty led the Act of Remembrance, which took place at the Batoche monument that serves as a remembrance for all fallen Métis, reading it in Michif. It was lead in Cree by Elder Josie Searson and English by John Belanger.
“They shall not grow old as we are left to grow old. Age shall not worry them, nor the years condemn. As the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them,” read Belanger.
Métis women were also recognized for their contributions to Canada’s war efforts as they also played their part in several conflicts that involved the country. Many Métis women have been honoured and decorated for their services.
Métis citizens, men and women, have been enlisting with their non-Indigenous brothers and sisters in arms to defend every threat Canada faced. However, the services made by Métis citizens in various conflicts were only recognized correctly in 2019.
The Veteran Ministry of MN-S has been working with its government partners to ensure Métis communities in the province have the chance to organize commemorative events honouring Métis veterans and monuments erected as a symbol of their sacrifices.