COURSEULLES-SUR-MER, France, Nov. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - A memorial to the thousands of Métis Nation citizens who served in the World Wars was dedicated today at the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France. A delegation of Métis Nation veterans, youth and dignitaries joined Clément Chartier, President of the Métis National Council (MNC), David Chartrand, President of the Manitoba Métis Federation and MNC Minister for Veterans Affairs, and the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians for the dedication ceremony.
"On behalf of all Métis, I express my joy and pride in being here today to commemorate and celebrate the service and sacrifice of the Métis Nation's greatest heroes; our veterans of the world wars," said President Clément Chartier. "This memorial is a reminder of the debt we all owe to those Métis who fought, were wounded or died protecting world freedom, giving us and future generations the means to strive for a prosperous and strong Métis Nation."
The memorial features a Red River Cart, one of the most recognized symbols of the Métis Nation. It also includes artifacts from Métis culture and history, and exhibits highlighting the contributions of Métis soldiers, sailors and aircrew during the World Wars and in the Canadian landing in Juno Beach as part of the 1945 liberation of Europe.
"It is an honour to be participating in this special moment on this truly historic battleground," said the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians. "The Red River Cart is a symbol that highlights the strength and determination of the Métis servicemen and women, some of whom I have the privilege of standing with today, and to all of whom Canada is truly grateful."
To commemorate the memorial exhibit unveiling, President Chartier presented Métis World War II veterans in attendance with special awards in recognition of their service to the Métis Nation and Canada. The ceremony also included a performance by renowned Métis dance troupe, the St. Ambroise Youth Steppers, who were part of the youth delegation.
"The memorial will help our youth and all future generations of Métis Nation citizens honour the bravery and selflessness of our veterans," said David Chartrand, MMF President and MNC Minister for Veterans Affairs. "It will now be a constant reminder of how we must continue working to ensure all Métis Nation veterans get the acknowledgment and benefits they deserve."
MNC President Chartier thanked Minister Strahl, the Office of the Federal Interlocutor and Veterans Affairs Canada for their support in making the memorial possible and providing resources for Métis Nation veterans to attend the ceremony. He also thanked the Juno Beach Centre for their assistance in developing the exhibits and hosting the dedication ceremony.
Photos and video of the dedication ceremony and of the Juno Beach Métis Veterans Memorial are available at www.metisnation.ca.
The MNC represents the Métis Nation in Canada at the national and international level. The Métis Nation's homeland includes the 3 Prairie Provinces and extends into Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the northern United States. There are approximately 350,000 - 400,000 Métis Nation citizens in Canada, roughly a quarter of all Aboriginal peoples in the country.
SOURCE Métis National Council
For further information: For further information: Greg Taylor, MNC Communications, at (613) 296-9263 or firstname.lastname@example.org