Mi'kmaq Heritage Actors to mark Indigenous Veterans Day with new performance

Richard Pellissier-Lush stands a the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery in Hautot-sur-Mer, France. Six members of the Mi'kmaq Heritage Actors travelled to Dieppe in August to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the raid there that killed thousands of Canadians. (Submitted by Julie Pellissier-Lush - image credit)
Richard Pellissier-Lush stands a the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery in Hautot-sur-Mer, France. Six members of the Mi'kmaq Heritage Actors travelled to Dieppe in August to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the raid there that killed thousands of Canadians. (Submitted by Julie Pellissier-Lush - image credit)

The Mi'kmaq Heritage Actors will put on a new show at the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on Tuesday that centres on their recent trip to Dieppe, France, where 2,700 Canadians died on Aug. 19, 1942.

Sma'knis, which means "warrior" in Mi'kmaq, will mark Indigenous Veterans Day, which is observed each year on Nov. 8.

Six members of the Indigenous theatre group travelled to France in August to mark the 80th anniversary of the raid. P.E.I.'s poet laureate, Julie Pellissier-Lush, was one of them. She said it was an honour to be the first such group invited from the Island.

"This was our turn to be able to be a part of something so big and so vast and so special and important to be able to show the dedication and the ultimate sacrifices that were made at this site," she told CBC Radio's Island Morning host Laura Chapin.

'We were so proud'

The group, which spent seven days in France, will reflect on their journey in Sma'knis through photos, story, song and dance.

Pellissier-Lush said part of the trip included a performance for the local community on the beach.

"We had a jingle-dress dancer, a hoop dancer, a grass dancer and drummers with our big drum, and we travelled a long way to be able to perform and showcase this beautiful, rich culture of the Mi'kmaq on P.E.I., and we were so proud to be able to do it as well," she said.

Pellissier-Lush said the evening will end with the names of 66 members of Lennox Island who fought in the First and Second World Wars, including some who died.

Lennox Island had more volunteers sign up per capita than any other community on P.E.I., she said.

"They were offering their lives to a country that didn't even really recognize them as citizens, yet they loved their country."

The show starts at 7:30 p.m.