Royal Regina Rifles set to unveil statue to honour troops who landed on D-Day

Twenty per cent of the regiment was made up of Indigenous soldiers from Saskatchewan.

The Royal Regina Rifles is scheduled to unveil a statue to honour troops who landed on the beaches at Normandy, France on D-Day.

The statue, which will be on display starting April 6 at the legislative building in Regina, will eventually make its way to the former battlefield for the 80th anniversary of the attack.

The three metre statue commemorates all those who fought with the regiment on June 6, 1944. That includes nearly a quarter of the regiment who came from Peepeekisis First Nation, 350 km southeast of Saskatoon.

Kelsey said that it was 20 per cent of the RRR were Indigenous soldiers from across the province but Peepeekisis had the largest contribution with 40 soldiers, “and the contributions of Indigenous veterans have really been overlooked for a long time.”

The regiment landed in the first wave of the attack. More than 350 Canadian soldiers died on that day. The Royal Regina Rifles would go on and liberate the town of Bretteville-l’Orgueilleuse, about 20 km from the beach.

The statue will stop in the First Nation before being flown to France and put in the memorial to the Regina Rifles Regiment in Bretteville-l’Orgueilleuse.

“We are so proud to include the Indigenous perspective on this story, and you know, it’s just an incredible piece of our provincial history that can promote reconciliation,” said historian Kelsey Lonie.

The statue is scheduled to have its official unveiling in France on June 5.

Editor’s Note: The story was updated on April 5 to correct information about participation of Indigenous troops. 

Contribute Button