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National Aboriginal Veterans Monument

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Municipality/Province: Ottawa, ON

Memorial Number: 35059-054

Type: Statue - bronze, granite base, concrete pad, and plaque

Address: 100 Elgin Street

Location: Confederation Park

GPS Coordinates: Lat: 45.4215643   Long: -75.6932088

On June 21, 2001, on the occasion of National Aboriginal Day (now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day), a national monument to the Indigenous Veterans was unveiled in Ottawa. The unveiling is the result of the hard work and perseverance of the National Aboriginal Veterans Association (NAVA), the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and Senator Nick Taylor.

Sculptor and painter Lloyd Pinay of the Peepeekisis First Nation in Saskatchewan designed the Monument which is reflective of all Indigenous peoples in Canada: First Nations, Métis and Inuit. Lloyd Pinay can trace his heritage to Plains Ojibway, Plains Cree and Sioux origins. His dad was a Second World War Veteran and was severely wounded towards the end of the war.

The richly symbolic sculpture represents the stories of thousands of men and women who have played a decisive role in defending the freedom of our country. It symbolizes the strength of the Indigenous peoples' beliefs as drawn from the natural world around them. The artist makes frequent use of the number four, which has spiritual importance for many Indigenous peoples. The four warriors (two men and two women), which represent the diversity of First Nations, Metis and Inuit people, are facing the four cardinal directions.

The four animal figures are spirit guides associated with qualities that are admired by Indigenous cultures: the elk, for its sharp senses, the buffalo, for its tenacity, the bear, for its healing powers and the wolf, for its family values. A triumphant eagle is perched at the top of the sculpture. It represents the Creator (known as Thunderbird), and embodies the spirit of the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

The artist has conveyed a sense of balance by representing opposites: two predators and two prey, two women and two men, two weapons and two spiritual objects — the eagle feather fan and the peace pipe. Through this work, Pinay expresses the idea that the desire for peace often lies at the root of war.

The upper portion of the piece is made of bronze. A brown patina was applied to the entire monument while certain portions had an application of a patina to give it a gold sheen. The base is a piece of diamond brown stone from a quarry in Shawinigan.

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Inscription found on memorial


[first column/première colonne]


This monument is raised in sacred and everlasting honour
of the contributions of all Aboriginal Canadians in war and
peacekeeping operations.

Many thousands of Aboriginal people saw action and endured hardship
in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. They served with
honour and distinction in all branches of the service and in every rank
and appointment from Private to Brigadier. They fought overseas to defend
the sovereignty and liberty of allied nations, in addition to supporting the
cause at home. Their dedication continues in peacekeeping operations
in faraway lands.

Their heroic acts earned many decorations for bravery as well as the respect
and enduring friendship of their comrades in arms. Hundreds from across
Canada gave fully of their lives so that all Canadians might know peace and
inherit freedom.
We who would follow in their path are humbled by the magnitude of their
sacrifice and inspired by the depths of their resolve. We owe them a debt
of gratitude we cannot soon hope to repay.

Unveiled by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, C.C., C.M.M.,
C.D. Governor General of Canada and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian
Forces on June 21, 2001, National Aboriginal Day.

This monument was made possible by the National Aboriginal Veterans Association and the
generous donations of the Canadian people.

Artist : Noel Lloyd Pinay


[second column/deuxième colonne]


Ce monument se veut un profond et perpétuel hommage
à la contribution de tous les Canadiens autochtones aux efforts
de guerre et aux opérations de maintien de la paix.

Plusieurs milliers d’Autochtones subirent de dures épreuves en participant
à la Première et à la Deuxième Guerre mondiale ainsi qu’à la guerre de
Corée. Ils servirent avec honneur et distinction dans tous les services et à
tous les rangs, depuis celui de soldat à celui de brigadier. Ils livrèrent combat
outre-mer pour défendre la souveraineté et la liberté des nations alliées, et ils
appuyèrent cette cause au pays. Enfin, dans les opérations de maintien de la
paix à l’étranger, ils continuent de faire preuve du même dévouement.

Leurs actes héroïques leur valurent de nombreuses décorations ainsi que
le respect et l’amitié de leurs camarades de guerre. Des centaines
d’Autochtones, d’un bout à l’autre du pays, donnèrent leur vie afin que tous
les Canadiens puissent connaître la paix et hériter de la liberté.

Nous, qui voulons suivre leur exemple, nous inclinons devant la grandeur
de leur sacrifice, et leur détermination est source d’inspiration. Notre dette
de reconnaissance à leur égard est immense.

Monument inauguré par Son Excellence la très honorable Adrienne Clarkson,
C.C., C.M.M., C.D., Gouverneure générale du Canada et Commandante en chef
des Forces canadiennes, le 21 juin 2001, Journée nationale des Autochtones.

C’est grâce à l’Association nationale des anciens combattants autochtones
et aux dons généreux de Canadiens que ce monument a pu être érigé.

Artiste : Noel Lloyd Pinay

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