The Last Post Fund is helping to refurbish nearly a dozen gravesites where Indigenous veterans lie in Yellowknife.
The program was helped along by Floyd Powder, a veteran and researcher with the charitable organization.
Edna Powder of Fort Smith remembers her cousin Joseph Xavior Powder who left his community to serve in the Second World War at the age of 15.
“I’m really happy about this because this stone will be here for ages whereas Joe just had a wooden cross. This is something that will last forever,” she says.
This year a total of eleven headstones were provided by the organization in Yellow knife, Bechoko, Fort Simpson, Hay River and Fort Smith.
Cathy Allooloo contributed Information to the Last Post Fund.
“I think the headstone says it all ‘Lest We Forget.’ If I could talk about one of the problems in the world today is we do forget,” she says.
“We forget the sacrifices people have made and the contribution.”
Because of the pandemic, ceremonies have been postponed and are scheduled for June 2022.
According to its website, the Last Post Fund has a mandate “to deliver the Veterans Affairs Canada Funeral and Burial Program which provides funeral, burial and grave marking benefits for eligible Canadian and Allied Veterans.”
The “Indigenous Veterans Initiative” was started in 2019 and, according to the site, has two components which are, “to provide grave markers to Indigenous Veterans deceased for over 5 years and lying in unmarked graves,” and, “to add traditional names of Indigenous Veterans to existing military grave markers.”