Our country has a long history of not treating our Indigenous veterans well, according to Mayor Nancy Peckford.
Peckford attended an Indigenous Veterans Day ceremony outside the Municipal Centre Wednesday afternoon.
“Unfortunately, the government of Canada, through a number of different World Wars, treated Indigenous Veterans horribly when they returned from their remarkable service over many, many years,” she said. “They were often denied the services and programs that were made available to other veterans, but furthermore, they were stripped – unwillingly – of their Indian status and treaty rights, in many cases.”
The ceremony was also attended by members of the OPP, North Grenville Fire Service, Royal Canadian Legion, the local Indigenous community, and other members of council.
Councillor Kristen Strackerjan, who served in the Canadian Armed Forces for more than 25 years, also spoke at the ceremony.
She said she hoped to honour and thank Indigenous veterans and soldiers in a way she couldn’t during her time in the military, since Indigenous Veterans Day was first celebrated in the 1990s.
“Today is but one day and one step towards our path of Truth and Reconciliation,” she said, “for our Armed Forces as well as for Canadians. By acknowledging the wrongs of the past, we can make changes to improve the future.”
The flags outside the Municipal Centre were lowered to half-mast, and a wreath was laid next to the flagpoles.