First Nations and Aboriginal veterans honoured at FNUC

Elders, dignitaries and students were among the many at the First Nations University of Canada on Thursday to honour First Nation and Aboriginal veterans.

The day began with a pipe ceremony in the morning followed by a grand entry, a moment of silence and the laying of wreaths.

‘It’s a day that we celebrate their deeds on what they did, the ones who went overseas. We also celebrate the ones who didn’t come back,” said Jim Pratt, retired police officer and former member of the Canadian Armed Forces.

First Nation and Aboriginal veterans weren’t required to go to war, but that didn’t stop many from doing so.

“They loved their families and they wanted to do something for our great country. They went, they served, so this day is about celebrating them — our Elders acknowledge them, our families [and] our communities,” Pratt said.

Pratt said it was a chance to remember, not only First Nation and Aboriginal veterans, but all those who served Canada.

“It’s absolutely important. A lot of our veterans are no longer here. We used to have a long lineup of veterans and they’re now slowly passing away,” Pratt said.

“A lot of them now, don’t have the strength to stand up in a parade so it’s very important for us to pass on their message for them.”

With not many veterans left, Pratt said it’s important for the tradition to carry on.

“The people we have to concentrate on the most is our youth. We want them to always remember the ceremonies — especially ceremonies that include veterans,” Pratt said.

Regina residents will have another chance to honour veterans during the Remembrance Day ceremony that’s being held at the Brandt Centre on Sunday beginning at 9 a.m.

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