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National Indigenous Peoples Day

Journée nationale des peuples autochtones

In June, Canada celebrates National Indigenous History Month to honour the history, heritage, and diversity of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and Sunday June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. Similarly, the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defense celebrated Indigenous Awareness Week (IAW) at the end of May. IAW enables DND and CAF “to celebrate the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, past and present, and the many Indigenous traditions and cultures that enrich the mosaic of our country.”

In celebration of the cultural and linguistic diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada, we would like to share with you some background on the four traditional languages that have so far been requested for Veterans’ tombstone inscriptions as part of the LPF Indigenous Veterans Initiative (IVI).

Although the researchers were able to find the traditional names of the Veterans, this was not always an easy task. Researchers have pointed out that for some families the legacy of colonialism and residential schools has meant that traditional names are sadly often “lost to history.” Indigenous children were punished for speaking their native languages in residential schools, and many did not pass on the language to their own children as a result. There are now language revitalization schools and programs in place in First Nation communities throughout Canada, where Indigenous languages are being spoken once again by younger generations.

By offering to inscribe Veterans’ traditional names, the Last Post Fund is proud to acknowledge the cultural diversity of Canadian Indigenous Veterans and to be a part of the important reconciliation process. We leave you with link to a video of the poem “In Flanders Fields” read in Mi’kmaq and translated as Na Maqamikej Flanders.

Kulaman Ma’ Wan’ Ta’ Siwkw (Kanien’kehá:ka or Mohawk)
-Lest We Forget-

 

                   


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