New Plaque Recognizes the Contribution of First Nation Soldiers during World War II
Ceremony in the Netherlands will include Canadian Armed Forces officials and local dignitaries
January 25, 2023 – An international group of volunteers is officially recognizing the contribution of Canada’s First Nation soldiers in the military during World War Two in Europe. At least 4,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis soldiers joined the Canadian Armed Forces in World War Two, and likely thousands more served with their status unrecognized. Mostly in the Army, many serving as scouts. Several served with The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (RHLI), a Canadian Army Reserve unit.
The group will unveil a plaque near the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery on February 8, the 78th anniversary of Operation Veritable, a major Anglo-Canadian offensive fought in the area. The plaque will specifically honour the First Nation members of The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry but is a tribute to all Canadian First Nation soldiers. It may very well be the first such tribute in Europe.
The idea of the plaque was an outgrowth of Canadian author Janet Love Morrison’s book, The Hawk and the Hare, which is centred around the RHLI. It celebrates her father’s friendship with a First Nation comrade during the war.
Attending the event will be Lisa Helfand, Ambassador of Canada to the Kingdom of the Netherlands; Colonel J.M.A. (Marc) LaFortune, Canadian Defence Attaché to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg; Chief Warrant Officer Joel Pedersen, Canada’s most senior First Nations non-commissioned officer; Janet Love Morrison; Herman Wijnhoven of the Groesbeek Airborne Friends Foundation and local dignitaries from the Netherlands and Germany.
RHLI Honorary Colonel Don Cranston
“This recognition of the Indigenous soldiers who served in the RHLI from our inception in 1862 to today, in war and peace, is a tremendous initiative. We acknowledge and thank these Rileys for their contribution and sacrifice in serving their Sovereign and Canada. Semper Paratus – always ready.”
JANET LOVE MORRISON
Janet Love Morrison is an author and editor whose previous books include The Crazy Canucks: Canada’s Legendary Ski Team (foreword by Peter Mansbridge), winner of the 2009 One Book, One Vancouver award, and Radar the Rescue Dog (foreword by Justin Trudeau). After teaching on the Cote First Nation Reserve near Kamsack, Saskatchewan for four years, she returned to her native British Columbia. In 2008 Love Morrison received the Cree spirit name Standing Tidal Horse Woman. Love Morrison is a Goodwill Ambassador for Friends to Mankind.
COMMEMORATION 14.00 Hrs. At the Canadian War CemeteryLocation and Information: Click here
Groesbeek GPS Coordinates: 51.7784° N, 5.9348° E
UNVEILING OF THE PLAQUE 15.30 Hrs.
At The Wolfsberg
THE RECEPTION 16.00 – 17.00 Hrs
The Wolfsberg, drinks for all guests and book signing.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE RECEPTION: Contact Ben Wijnhoven at firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE CEREMONY and THE GROESBEEK AIRBORNE FRIENDS FOUNDATION:
Contact Marco Cillessen at email@example.com.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE HAWK AND THE HARE: Contact Janet Love Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or Tidewater Press