Remembrance Day is a day that has been set aside remember the men and women who served during times of war to ensure the peace and safety of each man, woman, and child in Canada.
It is a day not only to mourn those brave men and women who fought on the front lines and behind the scenes, but to recognize them for their bravery and willingness to serve Canada with distinction. Many Canadians are unaware that First Nations men and women served at an historical time period when they were not considered citizens as the gov’t under the terms of the Indian Act made them “wards” of the government. This was the same act that gave the churches the licence to pick up children and haul them off to residential school. It was the same act that prevented First Nations people from being able to leave their “reserves” without permission from the Indian Agents who were appointed by government officials. It was a time when”Indians” were prevented from practicing spirituality and so potlatches were outlawed.
Despite the imposition on their traditional ways of life and the will of the colonial government to forcibly assimilate First Nations, First Nations men and women from across Canada and Bella Bella stepped up to fight for peace and sacrificed their own safety so that our world would be a safe world. In 1960, well after the WW 11 was over, these men and women finally gained the right to vote as citizens of Canada.
On behalf of the BBCS Remembrance Day committee, I would like to present you with a media presentation, The Heiltsuk Remember that recognizes severally men who left our village to train and go overseas as soldiers for peace. It is our way of recognizing the Coast Militia Rangers who served in Shearwater across from our village. I also want to acknowledge all the other Canadians who served in WW1 and WW11.
For their help in getting the Remembrance ceremony together, I want to acknowledge the following people for their assistance with the gathering the information, putting together the program:
*Our two student MCs, Corrin Humchitt and Eivyn Schrader
*Rev Gilbert Jackson
*Harrison Brooks for his technical assistance
*Ms Angela Pike, Ms. Ashely Lane, Mrs. Dorena Mason and their students
*Cultural historians, Rory Housty And Connie Tallio
*Elders, Shirl Hall and Fred Reid
*Our witnesses, William, Dora, Russell. Emma, Joanne, Edwin, Shawntai, Stewart and the RCMP for being a part of the ceremony.
*My dad, Ray Humchitt for his rendition of “amazing “grace”
I also want to recognize the Remembrance Day committee members who contributed to the ceremony: Fran brown, Bernadine Grant, Edna Smith, and Dora Hopkins. If we have left anyone out, it was not intentional.
Finally, a very special Thank you to the staff, students, parents and grandparents of Bella Bella Community School for being part of this assembly with such grace and dignity. May peace remain in your hearts and minds as we forge each new day in ways that will ensure the safety and well being of our world including the tiniest villages whose histories may not appear in history texts.