Tipi Tour Legacy Project to honour Indigenous veterans

·3 min read

The Brandon Friendship Centre will host a special ceremony to commemorate Indigenous Veterans Day on Monday to honour First Nation, Métis and Inuit veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who continue to serve their country.

Brandon Friendship Centre knowledge keeper Frank Tacan said the day is for acknowledging Indigenous veterans and the sacrifices they made fighting for Canadians’ freedoms.

The ceremony begins at Errol Black Park at 10 a.m. on Monday, followed by a service and feast at Prairie Oasis at 1 p.m. Those attending the ceremony will be required to show proof of full vaccination.

Tacan said the Friendship Centre is hoping to connect with veterans, encourage them to attend the event and share their stories if they are comfortable.

“We want to put the word out there because the ones I know have passed on,” Tacan said. “I’m pretty sure there are some in the community.”

A metal teepee structure will be installed to honour Indigenous veterans at Errol Park. The teepee is part of the Tipi Tour Legacy Project.

The Tipi Tour Legacy Project was inspired by the Walking With Our Sisters exhibit that visited the city in 2016. Multiple metal teepees have been installed across Brandon throughout the duration of the project. The teepees serve as a platform to share sacred Indigenous knowledge, perspectives, and stories.

The Indigenous veterans’ teepee will feature plaques detailing the history of Indigenous veterans and the battles and wars they participated in throughout Canadian history.

“It will have the history of our First Nation people fighting in [the First World War], [the Second World War], Desert Storm, and all of these wars happening overseas. They will be on individual plaques,” Tacan said.

A Métis teepee will also be installed as part of the Tipi Project Legacy Tour. The teepee will include plaques with insights and information on Métis culture and traditions.

The Indigenous Veterans Day commemoration will include a pipe ceremony, blessing of the grounds and prayers for veterans who died and those who made it home. They will also be honoured with prayers, gifts and a feast featuring soup and bannock.

Tacan added Indigenous soldiers at CFB Shilo, RCMP and police members have also been invited to the service so they can be honoured for their service.

“Any veterans out there, come. We’re honouring you; take pride in that and help us honour you,” Tacan said.

He said it remains pivotal to tell their stories because the impact Indigenous veterans have had in the country is often downplayed by society. He added the preservation of these memories is further impacted because Indigenous veterans are not typically celebrated during Remembrance Day ceremonies.

It was important to establish Indigenous Veterans Day, he said, because it offers a chance to celebrate veterans through Indigenous cultural practices and traditions.

Nov. 8 has been designated as Indigenous Veterans Day and serves as a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by Indigenous peoples in service to Canada. The time is used to honour the memory of First Nation, Métis and Inuit who were killed in battle fighting alongside other Canadians in conflicts across the globe to preserve the country’s peace, freedom and security. The day also honours those who continue to serve Canada.

While he appreciates Nov. 8 has been earmarked for Indigenous veterans, Tacan said he would like to see them included in ceremonies on Nov. 11 as an act of reconciliation.

“They should be all together on that date,” Tacan said. “They should involve us … We could have a pipe ceremony, a smudge and the eagle staff, and we could [have] songs to honour our veterans.”

Rides to the ceremony commemorating Indigenous Veterans Day are available. Call 204-727-1407 for more details.

» ckemp@brandonsun.com

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Chelsea Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun

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