Well over 100 Métis family members and friends, joined by many non-Métis under the leadership of the Ponteix Prairie Dog Métis Local President, Cecile Blanke in a solemn ceremony unveiled a beautiful monument in commemoration and honour of 16 Métis veterans who served in World War I, World War II and the Korean War.
Under a beautiful sunny sky, the afternoon dedication ceremony was a testament to the unswerving determination by the Métis to bring recognition and justice to their brave women and men who joined the battle to preserve world peace and the liberation of occupied nations and peoples.
The legacy of the ill treatment received by returning WWI and WWII veterans is well known to their families and communities prompting the dedicated efforts of leaders like Cecile to ensure that their memories and sacrifices are not forgotten.
Joining the ceremony was Métis Nation President Clément Chartier, MNS Vice-President Gerald Morin, along with MNS Regional Directors Lela Arnold and Lennard Morin, who is the MNS Minister responsible for Veterans.
“This is a tremendous day for the families of the 16 Métis veterans being honoured today, as well as the Métis Nation as a whole, and is a strong testament to the tremendous efforts and determination by Cecile and her community to make this significant achievement a reality” stated President Chartier.
In speaking to the importance of the monument to the community, President Blanke stated:
“This project was long overdue in remembering our Métis Veterans who grew up around Lac Pelleiter and Valley. They enlisted freely to fight for Canada but when the wars were over they were discriminated by our Government with no help to re-establish themselves in society in education, land, etc. They all moved on to different places and never coming back to their homeland because there was nothing left in the Lac Pelletier Valley, all the families had left in poverty.
This monument names 16 Veterans that came from the Lac Pelletier Valley for WWI, WWII and the Korean War. The Veterans died in all parts of Western Canada, B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. Only one is buried at Lac Pelletier cemetery. The plaques inscribe each one of them, its like they are coming home where they belong and never to be forgotten.
The community will learn of how important our Métis Veterans are who helped save our country by visiting the monument and how many did their job by serving in the wars.
It’s like a hidden war history that’s never been told.”
During her presentation, President Blanke told many stirring stories she heard from the veterans when she was a little girl, giving the audience a vivid description of the hardships that confronted the returning veterans and the challenges they had to overcome.
The monument is prominently located near the entrance of the Lac Pelletier Provincial Park and will be clearly visible to all visitors who drive in to the park.
Lela Arnold and Gerald Morin