Métis Veterans to be Honoured at Juno Beach

OTTAWA, Nov. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Métis Nation veterans, youth and dignitaries will travel to the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France next week to dedicate a memorial to Métis who served in the World Wars.

"We all owe a debt to the Métis Nation citizens who fought, who were wounded and who died defending their people, their country and world freedom," said Métis National Council President Clément Chartier. "This memorial will help ensure their service and sacrifice will not be forgotten."

The memorial will include an exhibit highlighting Métis culture, the contributions of Métis soldiers, aircrew and sailors during the World Wars and will feature a Red River Cart, one of the most widely recognized symbols of the Métis Nation.

Over a dozen Métis veterans will be joined at the Remembrance Day, November 11, 2009 dedication ceremony by President Chartier, David Chartrand, Manitoba Métis Federation President and MNC Minister for Veterans Affairs, and the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister for Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and non-Status Indians.

"I am proud to participate in this historic event, where the sacrifices made by Métis servicemen and women are receiving the attention they deserve," said Minister Strahl. "I look forward to the November 11th special dedication service at Juno Beach Centre where on behalf of all Canadians, I will thank Métis veterans for the contributions and sacrifices made during the two world wars, the Korean war and the battle in Afghanistan and peacekeeping missions around the globe."

President Chartier is thanking Minister Strahl on behalf of the Métis Nation for his support, along with the Office of the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Veterans Affairs Canada for their assistance in making the memorial possible and providing resources for Métis Nation veterans and youth to participate in its dedication ceremony. He also thanks the Juno Beach Centre for their help and cooperation.

The renowned Métis dance team, the St. Ambroise Youth Steppers, will perform at the dedication ceremony, and join several other Métis youth as part of the delegation. David Chartrand, MMF President and MNC Minister for Veterans Affairs said it is important for Métis youth to be part of this important event.

"Our youth can learn a lot from the thousands of brave and selfless Métis Nation citizens who answered the call to serve during the World Wars," said Chartrand. "The sacrifices made by Métis at Juno Beach, and on battlefields around the world, is a legacy future generations of Métis Nation citizens will remember with pride and gratitude."

The dedication ceremony will be held at 3:00 pm, local time (9:00 am EST), November 11, 2009 at the Juno Beach Centre, Courseulles-sur-Mer, France. Media are invited to attend, and are asked to contact Greg Taylor, MNC Communications, (613) 296-9263 or gregt@metisnation.ca for more information.

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, (613) 296-9263, gregt@metisnation.ca

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