Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

November 02, 2005 12:06 ET

VAC: Vimy Ceremony Concludes Aboriginal Spiritual Journey in Europe

VIMY, FRANCE--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 2, 2005) - A Ceremony of Remembrance was conducted at Vimy today to honour Canadians who gave their lives in wartime. Annually conducted the Sunday before Remembrance Day, this year's ceremony was held in advance to allow for the inclusion of a delegation of visiting First Nations, Metis and Inuit Spiritual Elders, Veterans and youth from Canada.

The ceremony at Canadian Cemetery No. 2 on the grounds of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial was the final event in Europe for the members of the Aboriginal Spiritual Journey. They departed Canada October 26th, visited Canadian war memorials and battlefield locations in Belgium and France, and conducted a Calling Home Ceremony involving the customs and traditions of First Nations and Metis peoples and the Inuit to invite the spirits of fallen warriors to return to Canada to rest with their ancestors.

"It is so very appropriate that our last commemorative ceremony is being held at Vimy and that we make this visit during Canada's Year of the Veteran," said the Honourable Albina Guarnieri, Minister of Veterans Affairs. "Because it is here at Vimy Ridge that Canadians would come together as a unified force to fight one of their most significant battles of the First World War. And here, like so many other battlefields, Aboriginal people from Canada stood their ground," said Minister Guarnieri. "On the Vimy Memorial can be found the names of at least 35 Aboriginal Veterans whose stories will never be known, except for the fact that they never came home."

While in Europe the delegation also participated in ceremonies at two First World War monuments in Belgium - the St. Julien Memorial and Hill 62 - and at Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Normandy, France. An Inuksuk now stands next to the Juno Beach Centre, its windows facing Canada and the nearby war cemetery, to serve as a permanent marker of the journey. The delegation returns to Ottawa tomorrow, November 3rd, and will participate in a Ceremony of Remembrance in the Senate of Canada November 4th before departing for home towns.

Additional information about the Aboriginal Spiritual Journey, including photos and youth delegates' "blogs", can be found on the Veterans Affairs Canada web site, at www.vac-acc.gc.ca.

2005 is the Year of the Veteran: Celebrate. Honour. Thank. Remember. Teach.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    (613) 992-7468
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Corey Hobbs
    Director of Communications
    (613) 947-4908