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‘He was finally recognized’: Indigenous veteran awarded military headstone in NWT

Gray headstones stand out in the fresh snow at Lakeview Cemetery in Yellowknife.

It belongs to Augustine Beaulieu, a WWII veteran from Fort Resolution, NWT who served in the Canadian Scottish Regiment.

This is the first Indigenous Veteran’s Day to have his grave marked with a military headstone, courtesy of the Last Post Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to ensure that veterans are not denied a dignified burial. .

Military gravestone belonging to World War II veteran Augustin Beaulieu, in Lakeview Cemetery, Yellowknife. (Juanita Taylor/CBC News)

Before the gravestone, Beaulieu’s final resting place was marked with a wooden cross. It has decayed over the years and his cemetery has remained obscure and unknown.

An investigation by Floyd Powder uncovered and restored Beaulieu’s grave. A veteran, Powder volunteers with the Last Post Foundation, which identifies cemeteries. He helps locate unmarked veterans’ graves throughout his Northwest territory and works with his family to arrange military headstones to commemorate their service.

Adele Tatti, Beaulieu’s granddaughter, said, “I am so grateful that he was finally recognized. Her family knew he was buried in Yellowknife, but no idea where he was buried. She said she didn’t know.

Floyd Powder will help you find unmarked veteran graves throughout the Northwest Territory. (Juanita Taylor/CBC News)

Tatti lives in NWT’s Hay River and says next time he visits Yellowknife, he’ll try to place a poppy by his gravestone..

“He put a lot of our family back together that had been a little bit apart for a long time,” Tatti said.

The Last Post Fund was created in 1909 for all veterans, but it wasn’t until 2009 that it began focusing on Indigenous veterans. In 2019, we established the Indigenous Veterans Initiative to mark indigenous graves and add traditional names to existing graves.

Since April 2020, the program has installed 30 gravestones across the territory, Powder said.

He said he has about 10 others he hopes to have installed by next summer.

“At the end of the day, yes, it’s for the benefit of the family, but more importantly, it’s for the deceased veterans,” Powder said.

This includes veterans like Meti pilot Robert “Bobby” Douglas, who flew on two tours in World War II. He, like many natives, had to give up his treaty status to join the war.

A week before he died in October 2020, he got it back, his son Sholto said.

Robert ‘Bobby’ Douglas took two tours in World War II. (Kate Kyle/CBC News)

Douglas is buried at Behchokǫ̀, NWT. His grave is also marked with a military tombstone, along with the symbol of infinity, the symbol of Metis.

“They may never know my father, but they will see that he served this country,” Sholto said during a visit to the cemetery last month.

According to Sholto, his father, like many indigenous soldiers who served in the service, felt a duty to defend his country despite the prevalence of racism and prejudice at the time.

Many Aboriginal veterans were not treated the same as other veterans returning to Canada.

Sholto Douglas pictured in the cemetery at Behchokǫ̀, NWT, where his father, a World War II veteran, Robert ‘Bobby’ Douglas, is buried. (Kate Kyle/CBC News)

“Indigenous veterans retired after World War I and World War II, [the Korean War]they were denied benefits,” Powder said.

So, in addition to investigating graves and specific jobs, he maintains a list of veterans at the NWT to keep them informed of current benefits such as qualified medical programs.

Sholto admires the work Powder is doing for Native American veterans.

“They were Canada’s forgotten soldiers. Forgotten veterans,” he said.

“Whether it’s the Métis or the Indigenous, they’ve done everything that everyone else has done. They’re no different.”

‘He was finally recognized’: Indigenous veteran awarded military headstone in NWT

Source link ‘He was finally recognized’: Indigenous veteran awarded military headstone in NWT

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