Kahnawake honours its veterans

“It's important,” says 12-year-old Tharahkwisere Stacey whose grandfather served in the Vietnam war. Stacey was one of the many paying tribute to Kahnawake’s veterans on Saturday. Brittany Henriques reports.

“They risked their lives to fight for others. Some sadly got killed in action and some didn’t. And we need to remember that,” said 12-year-old Tharahkwisere Stacey whose grandfather served in the Vietnam war.

Lest we forget — a phrase we hear every year around remembrance day.

But, here in Kahnawake, it’s something the veterans say they live by. This weekend the community marching to remember those who have served and fallen for their country.

“The phrase for us, lest we forget is humungous. We believe in what’s called the spirit world. And we believe that when someone has passed away in particular, our comrades have passed away and gone into the spirit world. They’re not gone they’re here. And we need to go pay tribute to them so they could rest for another year. They were all soldiers that marched and fought and they, you know, protected this turtle island, this country,” said veteran and president of the Kahnawake branch of the Royal Canadian Legion Ray Deer.

“It’s important today for the community and myself to gather together because it’s to pay remembrance to our fallen veterans, our fellow veterans, and just it’s a day to come together to be as one,” said the first vice of the Kahnawake branch of the Royal Canadian Legion Tara Jacobs.

“Honoring indigenous veterans that served in disproportionate amounts compared to non-indigenous the non-indigenous population of Canada in all the wars as allies And often came back to conditions where they were not served by well, by the country that they were prepared to lay down their lives for,” said federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Marc Miller. “So there’s a sad history to this, but also a positive one in terms of our relationship. But this is really a day to honour the honour of veterans, particularly those that passed and made the ultimate sacrifice.

This – is Robert Montour senior, he’s 92 years old and the oldest veteran in Kahnawake having served in the Korean war.

Many veterans fighting with the United States and Canada – the Kanien’kehá:ka are dual citizens and do not recognize the countries border – it’s their land – and that is why many choose to serve.

“Historically, we participate in just about every conflict since Europeans have been here. You know, the war of independence this war of 18, 12, even the civil war in the united states,” said Deer.

The majority of the 178 veterans in the community served with our neighbours south of the border in the second world war.

“Stand up for what you know is yours. You know, and we know that this land belongs to us. Then you have no say, you know, you’ll become an invisible people. But they’ll always remember our veterans and our warriors,” said Deer.

“It’s also important with the aging populations, as I mentioned, that the younger generations continue to remember those that made that ultimate sacrifice, where there’s a reason that we can live in a peaceful country. It’s because the people that were prepared to lay down their lives,” said Miller.

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