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Memorial Sites to Honour Native War Veterans
arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) Honour Roll Listings
arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) Gallery of Photos
arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) Memorial Sites for Native Veterans
arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) Veterans
arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) History of Native Veterans
arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) Links to other Native Veterans Sites
arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) Treaty Areas of NWO
arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) Glossary of Terms and Phrases
arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) Articles on Native Veterans
arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) Thanks to those who have helped us
The Native Veterans Association of Northwestern Ontario was founded by the late Charles "Willy" John. Willy was an Ojibway of the Red Rock Band located at Lake Helen Reserve near Nipigon, Ontario. He was a veteran of the Second World War. His dream of forming an organization of Native  veterans became a reality and a founding meeting took place on November 11, 1988. Native veterans and families came across Northwestern Ontario and participated in a Remembrance Day service on Mount McKay in Thunder Bay.

Mount McKay - Mt. McKay Memorial Cross dedicated to Indian Soldiers of World War I. The cross itself was wooden.

Photo Credit:
Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society

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Mount McKay is located on the Fort William First Nation Reserve. The significance of the gathering and ceremony on Mount McKay is historical. It is where a large wooden cross was once erected in honour of Indian soldiers who fought and died in World War One. It was first erected in 1919. It has since been replaced by a large white concrete cross. The cross on the mountain is a cenotaph that memorializes the contribution by Indians and veterans of Northwestern Ontario. The gathering dedicated the cross to include not only Indian veterans of the First World War but also of the Second World War, Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War and Peacekeeping Services.

Mount McKay - Mt. McKay Memorial Cross dedicated to Indian Soldier of World War I. This is a concrete structure.

Photo Credit:
Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society
977.113. 310B

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The gathering also included a feast and powwow which was held in honour of the Indian veterans. In the traditions of the Anishinabe, veterans are held in high regard. In the ceremony of the powwow it is often the veterans who carry the National flags into the circle during Grand Entry. These flags include the eagle staff which is the National flag of the Anishinabe people, the Canada flag and the U.S. flag. These flags are honoured by the Flag Song. Then there is the Veterans song. A World War Two soldier drum was brought from Manitou Rapids Reserve to honour this historic gathering of Indian veterans. As the Veteran Song begins, all those who served in the military dance in the circle first and then all family members join in and finally everyone is invited to dance in honour of our country's protectors. The song and dance ceremonies instill an emotional pride that we are free and live in peace. The Anishinabe word for soldier is Shimaginish however, ancient warrior title are still used such as Ogichidaa or Minnissino. The translations all mean a person whose ultimate and unconditional duty is protector of the people.

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Willy John was one of those people. His continuing dream was to have a local historical book compiled about Indian contribution during the wars. His wish was to have the book become part of the school curriculum so that all people become aware of what the Anishinabe veterans did for Canada. He also wanted Anishinabe children to learn and be proud of their people's military heritage. The Native Veterans have adopted the red poppy and eagle feather as their official logo.

Memorial Photo Gallery of the Mount McKay Memorial Site and Remembrance Day

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Sun on the Cross
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Frank Michon w./ the Staff
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Frank Banning
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Remembrance Day 1996
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Frank and Betty Banning
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Laying Offering
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Plaque for the Cross
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Plaque for the Native Veterans
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Plaque Listing the Names
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Standing with the Colour Guard
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Cross w./ all the Flags
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Wider Shot of the Cross
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Cross Close-up
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Standing with the
Colour Guard
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Chapel on the Mountain
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Mike Orwick
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Cross on the Mountain