The Nicola Valley First Nations Veterans (NVFNV) have been working hard to fundraise towards their planned monument, which will shed light on the often unrecognized sacrifices made by First Nations veterans. Their project hopes to commemorate those whose service went unacknowledged by erecting a new monument at Shulus in their honour.
During a Community Update event on Tuesday, October 11, the NVFNV presented the names that will be inscribed on the monument, gave a history and update on the project, and received thousands of dollars in donations.
While the NVFNV started their fundraising campaign with $50,000 in funding from Veterans Affairs Canada, they still remained short of the total estimated project cost of $127,000. A number of donors stepped up during the Community Update to donate to the project’s completion. Over $66,000 in donations were received, from individuals, non-profit organizations, and corporations. Teck Resources donated $20,000 towards the project, while the Anglican Church’s Lytton Parish pitched in another $10,000.
The event saw a number of NVFNV members take the stand to share their stories, give a timeline for the project, and announce the names that will be inscribed on the monument. It was also announced that CFJC TV, a Kamloopsed based TV channel, would film a feature length documentary about the project.
“We want to continue the legacy of our veterans in our communities and in our families, making sure our children and grandchildren know the history of the people that served,” said Carol Holmes of Upper Nicola Band, member of NVFNV.
“We have quite a number of families that information hasn’t been passed on. Part of this project is collecting those stories. We’d like to put them into a book too.”
The organization came to be in 2003, when veterans Percy Jackson of Shackan and Richard Jackson, Jr. of Lower Nicola Indian Band (LNIB) together recognized the need to honour and recognize the First Nations veterans of the Nicola Valley. The two searched for a large boulder, eventually finding one and moving it to Shulus where it became the organization’s first monument project. Four plaques were placed on the boulder, representing World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
Education is a key component of the NVFNV’s mission, often coordinating veterans to attend local schools and institutions, as well as being involved in the Nicola Valley’s annual Remembrance Day ceremonies. Moving forward, they hope to continue raising awareness, as well as funds for their new monument.
“We are doing this for our children. We need to ensure that our history is documented and that we are proud of it,” added Holmes.
The organization hopes to have the monument up by March 2023. Those looking to support the project can share their own or family’s stories of serving, attend the information events, and donate to the monument’s progress through the LNIB office, with a notation that it is for the Nicola Valley First Nations Veterans.
For more information on the NVFNV monument project, contact Carol Holmes at 250-378-7809.
Nicola Valley First Nations Veterans Monument by Marius Auer