First Nations Veterans' Memorial Tipi Committee
About the First Nations Veterans Memorial Tipi Committee
In 2002 the First Nations University of Canada and the Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association entered into a partnership to build a "Memorial Tipi". The glass tipi will pay tribute to our First Nations Veterans and acknowledge their contribution to the freedom that we enjoy today.
The First Nations University of Canada created a committee, which consists of Veterans from various First Nations through out Saskatchewan. To date we have held six meetings with our committee members in Regina and Prince Albert. Our first meeting commenced on October 12, 2005, second October 19, 2005, third December 2, 2005, fourth February 3, 2006, fifth March 23 & 24, 2006, and the sixth on May 29, 2006. It is our intention to keep this committee continuously involved in the project because we feel that their input is crucial and they are a guiding force to the overall progress of the project.
Our targetted date for our official ground breaking ceremony is set for Remembrance Day, November 11th, 2007.
About the Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans' Association
The Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans' Association (SFNVA) was established in 1972, with the mandate to promote, preserve and protect the Treaty Rights of First Nations Veterans and to advance the physical, social, economic and spiritual well-being of First Nations Veterans and their families.
There are, at present, approximately 350 surviving First Nations Veterans in the Province of Saskatchewan. More recently, the SFNVA has focused on working to raise public awareness of First Nations Veterans' contribution to the safety and security of all Canadians. This focus has particularly stressed the need to bring First Nations Veterans and Youth together, through Remembrance Day activities. These present day activities reflect the SFNVA's belief that without public awareness and education the First Nations Veterans of Saskatchewan will not be appropriately recognized for their contributions.
Despite their significant contributions, including participation at the D-Day invasion on Normandy Beach, the provision of Code Talkers chosen from Saskatchewan First Nations indigenous language speakers, and service in WWI, WWII, the Korean War and, more recently, the Gulf War and the War in Iraq, First Nations Veterans have little access to information regarding benefits and the benefits themselves. Many of our heroes and warriors are living on a total monthly income of less than $500.00. Often prohibited by age, infirmity, and language barriers, First Nations Veterans have not had access to this information in any real or practical way.
The SFNVA has made tremendous progress over the past several years in implementing sound governance structures, administrative processes, communications and membership structures, now boasting a membership of approximately 130 Veterans and widows. The SFNVA is currently conducting in-depth research to evaluate and analyze lost benefits, and to determine the most efficient way to proceed to ensure that all Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans and widows have full and equal access to all benefits and are appropriately compensated for any lost benefits resulting from their brave and courageous service to this nation.