Journey of remembrance

Philip Ledoux, Arland Tootoosis, Aldina Tootoosis and Vic Sanderson (from left) were at the Art Hauser Centre over the weekend to raise money to send 20 First Nations veterans to France for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. © Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald

Sask. First Nations veterans raising money for a trip to France for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

At the opening of the Northern Lights Casino Thanksgiving Powwow at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday, a moment was taken to introduce and honour visiting First Nations elders, leaders and veterans.

One of the veteran present at the powwow was Philip Ledoux, vice president of the Prince Albert branch of the Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans’ Association (SFNVA). Ledoux, from Mistawisis First Nation, is a veteran of United Nations peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, which lasted from June to December 1958, and Cyprus, which began in 1964 and continues to be one of the U.N.’s oldest continuing missions.

During the day, Ledoux manned the SFNVA booth in the Art Hauser Centre lobby. His organization is hoping to raise $184,000 to send 20 First Nation veterans to France for two weeks in April 2017 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, in which Canadian soldiers under Canadian command captured a strategic escarpment in Northern France.

“When the Canadians took Vimy Ridge in the First World War, it was the first time they fought together as a unit and a whole Canadian division,” he said.

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