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‘Their hearts were so strong’: Splatsin Remembrance Day ceremony honours Indigenous veterans

Click to play video: 'Splatsin First Nation holds Remembrance Day ceremony to honour veterans' Splatsin First Nation holds Remembrance Day ceremony to honour veterans
WATCH: In the North Okanagan, the Splatsin First Nation held a public ceremony to honour Remembrance Day. Attendees gathered to pay tribute to loved ones who had served and to recognize the work of all veterans, including Splatsin veterans – Nov 11, 2021

In the North Okanagan, the Splatsin First Nation held a public ceremony to honour Remembrance Day.

Attendees gathered around a cairn at the Splatsin Community Centre to pay tribute to loved ones who served and to recognize the work of all veterans, including Splatsin veterans.

Read more: Surrey, B.C. commando who fought to keep veterans’ memories alive remembered

“Our men did not hesitate to volunteer to go into service in spite of how they were treated when they returned home. They did what they did for service of the country, service of the flag and for freedom,” Splatsin chief Kukpi7 Wayne Christian said in his opening remarks.

Read more: 101-year-old World War II veteran reflects and honours friends on Remembrance Day

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Splatsin Councillor Doug Thomas said some Indigenous veterans of the first and second World Wars returned to Canada only to have their children taken to residential schools.

“[There’s] the feeling of irony that our people went to serve a country where further atrocities happened. For me, that is another thing not to forget because they say if we don’t pay attention to history, we are prone to repeat it. That goes for wars. That goes for residential schools,” said Thomas.

“Going forward in reconciliation, it was very good to see such a wide representation of people from Enderby and the local MP here to support our veterans.”

Click to play video: 'Official, unofficial ceremonies return for Remembrance Day in the Central Okanagan' Official, unofficial ceremonies return for Remembrance Day in the Central Okanagan
Official, unofficial ceremonies return for Remembrance Day in the Central Okanagan – Nov 11, 2021

Among those remembering family members was former chief Gloria Morgan, whose father William Edwards and brother Romeo Edwards were both veterans.

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“I’m so proud of them and I know their hearts were so strong wanting to represent our country in the wars that they served in,” Morgan said.

Gloria Morgan leads a closing procession at the end of the Splatsin Remembrance Day ceremony. Megan Turcato / Global News

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