Celebrating Indigenous Peoples
NCR commemorates National Aboriginal Day & DND/ DND/CAF Eagle Staff travels to Vimy
It was a great honour to be the Eagle Staff bearer at the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge.
Being an Eagle Staff carrier is a daunting task to begin with; each staff carrier has to be chosen and given the teachings on what the staff represents to Indigenous members of t he Canadian Armed Forces.
The 10 days leading up to the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge ceremony on April 9 were quite a whirlwind. Warrant Officer Sheldon Quinn and I st arted with a couple of days in 8 Wing Trenton for drill and deportment briefs. Once this was over we were able to meet the rest of the contingent and to really understand what was going to happen while at Vimy Ridge.
We were finally off ; first, the flight to Lille, France and then a ‘short’ bus ride to our accommodations in Mons, Belgium. This all made for a very long day but the following day we were able to have a day of rest and to visit our surroundings then it was off to the site.
We were very lucky to have the Defence History and Heritage Historians with us who us on a tour of various locations along Vimy Ridge and to visit the trenches. However, it wasn’t all fun and games; after that it was back to the grind and many bus rides to and fro for parade practice. WO Quinn and I created a parade format of our own to accommodate the addition of the Department of National Defence/ Canadian Armed Forces Eagle Staff in to the parade ceremony.
Light and sound show
One evening the band contingent was invited to take part in a Sunset Ceremony i n the city centre of Arras, France. The demonstration was an amazing l i ght and sound show.
As the Eagle Staff Bearers, we were also invited to partake in a Traditional Sunrise Ceremony on April 8, which was very cold and awe-inspiring at the same time, and WO Quinn and I were quite honoured to attend.
April 9, t he big day had come at l ast. The annivers ar y c eremony was t r uly humbling and s eemed t o go by very quickly. Leading the contingent i n with the Eagle Staff was incredible, the amount of people there, well over 25,000 spectators. WO Quinn and I also had an opportunity to meet dignitaries after the ceremony. Once it was over we headed back to Mons for some much needed rest.
The organizers from Directorate History and Heritage and Canadian Joint Operations Command planned an incredible trip.
LGen Paul Wynnyk, Commander of the Canadian Army and National Champion for the Defence Aboriginal Advisory Group, lays a wreath during ceremonies held at the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument in Ottawa
on June 21. Lgén Paul Wynnyk, commandant de l’Armée canadienne et Champion national du Groupe consultatif des Autochtones de la Défense, dépose une couronne lors de la cérémonie tenue au Monument national aux anciens combattants autochtones à Ottawa, le 21 juin.
Sarah Askew, daughter of Maj Catherine Askew, at National Aboriginal Day ceremonies on June 21, in Ottawa. La fille du Maj Catherine Askew, Sarah, pendant la cérémonie de la Journée nationale des Autochtones, le 21 juin à Ottawa.