Aboriginal war veterans were honoured in a ceremony that recognized the courage and devotion to their country displayed in overseas battles during the Second World War.
More than 300 veterans, elders, youth and media joined in the “Aboriginal Spiritual Journey” from October 26 to November 4 in Belgium and France as a tribute to fallen Aboriginal soldiers.
Spiritual Aboriginal elders and veterans proposed the celebration, which was undertaken with the support of the Canadian government.
Newly appointed Governor General Michaelle Jean also took part in the ceremonies. “This spiritual journey that together we are making is a rare opportunity to speak out, recalling for the people of Canada the heroic deeds of our Aboriginal veterans,” she said.
As part of the journey, Aboriginal Spiritual Elders from across Canada also conducted a Calling Home Ceremony to the spirits of fallen warriors so they can return to their homelands and join their ancestors.
Thirty-three Aboriginal soldiers are known to be buried in the Bény-sur-Mer cemetery, a small fraction of the more than 4,000 Aboriginals who fought for the Canadian military during the Second World War.
Aboriginal veterans and youth visited former battlefields, such as Juno Beach, Vimy Ridge and Ypres, to learn about and pay their respects to those who gave their lives for the freedom of the future generations.
Aboriginal culture and traditions were on display throughout the journey.