11/11 Remembering ...
A shared heritagehttp://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1288425
Posted 10 hours agoIn an era when conflict tends to define the relationship between First Nations people and non-aboriginal Canadians, it's more vital than ever to remember our shared history. Perhaps the most poignant part of that history is found in our nation-building through participation in armed conflicts. We stop to honour those who sacrificed their lives every year at this time, but those sacrifices were shared among Canadians and First Nations people. The wars that helped forge Canada were a united effort between two peoples who now seem defined more by their differences, especially in this region. Saturday's unveiling of part of a stone monument recognizing New Credit aboriginals' participation in military service is part of an important larger effort to recognize the role natives have played in greater armed conflicts. The stone monument is to be engraved with 85 names of Mississaugas of the New Credit who served during the First and Second World Wars, the Boer War, the Vietnam War and in other conflicts and as peacekeepers. The monument itself may be modest, but the effort of aboriginals in the wars we recall at this time of year was significant, particularly in relation to population. According to Veterans Affairs Canada, the 300 members of the Iroquois Six Nations of the Grand River who fought in the First World War represented the most of any Indian band in Canada. They were among 4,000 natives overall who enlisted to fight in the conflict. Indeed, military unity goes back even further to the origins of the city of Brantford, named after Joseph Brant, a Mohawk leader who fought with the British during the American Revolution. Perhaps the most celebrated native soldier from the 20th century was Tom Longboat, an Onondaga from Six Nations and a world champion long distance runner. Despite his athletic career, Longboat enlisted in the First World War and ran messages between units serving in France. Longboat was injured twice and even declared dead, but survived. In the Second World War, 200 native soldiers from Canada lost their lives. In the overall scheme, these sacrifices may seem small, but proportionally, they were substantial. Symbolically, they also serve to this day as a crucial reminder that the history of Canada includes a united effort when it mattered most and the toll was measured in lives. This should be remembered year round when disputes tend to characterize native and non-native relations. There was a time when we fought together. Join the discussion at www.theexpositor.com.
Copyright © 2008 Brantford Expositor
Six Nations woman honoured by Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean
Posted 10 hours agoASix Nations woman has received a prestigious Governor General's commemoration of the Persons Case award. Beverly Jacobs, president of the Native Women's Association of Canada for the last four years, was honoured last week at Rideau Hall, the home of Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean. The Persons Case awards go out annually to honour those who have made significant contributions to the advancement of women. It refers to a landmark case in which five Canadian women fought for and won the right for women to be recognized as persons and thus, to be eligible to sit in the Senate. The government established the awards in 1979 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Persons Case and to salute the contributions made to the advancement of women. Jacobs, who has travelled nationally and internationally to educate people about some of the most critical issues facing aboriginal women, said she was humbled to receive the award. "It means a lot to me to know that the work I do to benefit all aboriginal women is being recognized at such a high level," Jacobs said in a news release. "To receive the same award that has been given to trailblazers before me such as Bertha Allen, Mary Two-Axe Early and Sandra Lovelace Nicholas is a tremendous honour." Jacobs was heavily involved in raising awareness of Canada's missing and murdered aboriginal women even before her niece, Tashina General, went missing in January and was found murdered a few months later. Because of that work, she said she's accepting the award in honour and remembrance of the spirits of those aboriginal sisters who are either missing or have been found murdered. Other recipients of the award include: Shelagh Day, of Vancouver, an international authority on women's human rights; Frances Ennis, of St. John's, Newfoundland, a social activist who has devoted her life to advancing equality for women; Maureen McTeer, of Ottawa, a lawyer, author and expert of issues of women's rights and health; and Mair Verthuy, of Montreal, a researcher and distinguished academic who co-founded Canada's first women's studies program. Ben Barry, of Ottawa, received a youth award for his work as a modelling consultant, women's health advocate and author of Fashioning Reality, a Canadian bestseller. Jacob's organization, the Native Women's Association of Canada in a group of 13 native women's groups and is the national voice of aboriginal women in Canada.
Copyright © 2008 Brantford Expositor
A day of history
New Credit celebrates contributions of soldiers with new war memorial
Posted 10 hours agoAlthough a production delay prevented the proper unveiling of a new war memorial in New Credit Saturday, enough of the project was finished for visitors to see its uniqueness. Nestled in a grove of stately oak trees near the council's administration building, the memorial will one day be a peaceful place to reflect on those from the Mississaugas of the New Credit nation who died or served in four wars and during peacetime. The 85 soldiers whose names will be etched in the final stones fought for Canada, the U. S. and Britain and served as peacekeepers. "History is what this day is about," said Chief Coun. Bryan LaForme at the ceremony. "It's an almost-ignored history but a glorious history and these are the details of our history we must remember and commemorate." As the undulating voices of traditional native singers died away, it was replaced by the skirl of bagpipes heralding the arrival of native veterans who lined up by the memorial. With a large hillock of landscaped sod in the centre, the stones of the memorial -- representing the First and Second World Wars, the Boer War, the Korean war and other conflicts and peacetime work -- will eventually be set into the hill. The whole area is surrounded with stone benches to allow people to pause and reflect, and three striking stone flames on pedestals. The three fires are part of the MIssissaugas of the New Credit's symbolism. Unfortunately, said LaForme, the special stone ordered for the monuments came from India and only arrived this week, allowing the stone carvers time to complete just one section of the monument. Funding for the memorial area came from the Mississaugas of the New Credit Community Trust. Julie LaForme, a spokesperson for the trust, asked the 70-strong audience to allow the monument to serve "not only as a reminder of what we've lost, but a reminder of what we have also gained." Newly elected Grand Chief Randy Phillips, of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, told the group that whether the soldiers had fought for the United States or for Canada wasn't as important to focus on as how they defended the territory. "This monument may not be finished, but we can walk away from this gathering knowing our ancestors won't be forgotten." Bill Montour, Chief Coun. of Six Nations, spoke of how his great-uncle was the first native to lose his life overseas during a war. "Even at that time, Canada didn't welcome our guys who were volunteering so the Confederacy declared war on Germany as an ally of Britain," said Montour. A poem, written by Stacey LaForme, was read and Chief LaForme pronounced the names of those who had served in the various armed forces. "This memorial," said LaForme, "is a message of respect and honour and is a calling home to those vets who have gone before us."
Copyright © 2008 Brantford Expositor
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