On Tuesday (November 8), the commander of CFB Esquimalt awarded the Metis sailors a special medal as part of National Indigenous Veterans Day.
NCO Steve Morrison was awarded the Aboriginal Veterans Millennium Medal by Navy Capt. J. Jeffrey Hutchinson. Morrison said the medal was an honour, but it meant much more than himself.
“It’s huge because it’s not just me, it’s for my aunts and uncles who are boarding school survivors who came forward to serve in World War II. They’re Métis and they had to Hide your identity,” Morrison said. “This is for all of us – all of our past ancestors, and those who are serving now.”
Receiving the medal on National Indigenous Veterans Day made it even more meaningful, Morrison said, as the day had become a symbol of change and reconciliation, a day that had come since Aboriginal veterans were denied the opportunity to stage a protest. There has been change and reconciliation. Lay wreaths for their fallen comrades on Memorial Day.
“This started with protests in Winnipeg and has grown to now, nationwide recognition and progressive international recognition on Turtle Island. The day was not organized by the military or the government, it was organized by us. This morning I was in Next to the monument – the two of us. We haven’t done that in Victoria before. Next year, hopefully we have a dozen, next year, two or three dozen.”
Morrison currently serves as the elected National Military Co-Chair of the Defence Indigenous Advisory Group, an entity that acts as the voice of Defence Indigenous members at the command level up to the Secretary of Defense.
Lt.-Col. Catherine Askew, Formation Chaplain at CFB Esquimalt, said the medal was awarded to CAF members who embody what it means to be a member and live with integrity, as well as honouring Aboriginal members who have served. In the past.
“Sergeant 1st Sergeant Morrison represents a Canada that believes in a better, lives of reconciliation and believes that we are all connected people – Aboriginals, settlers, new Canadians, visitors to our land – we are all connected Yes, this is what this medal means today – he is walking these different paths with integrity and hope.”
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CFB Esquimalt Indigenous Veterans