The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site
Saturday, August 3, 2019 – 10:00 a.m.
Friends, Manitobans, it is an honour to join you today in celebrating Manitoba’s Hometown Hero – Sgt. Tommy Prince.
I begin by acknowledging that we are gathered at the site of the signing of Treaty One. And recognizing the Anishinaabe lived here long before this was the site of a fur trade fort and continue to live along the Red River and throughout Manitoba.
We have come to the right place to pay homage to a great Manitoban and especially to Sgt. Tommy Prince.
Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site is a special, sacred place to Manitobans. Here the history of the fur trade comes to life. Here too we can almost detect the echoes of the footsteps of the first men of the Northwest Mounted Police preparing for their famous March West.
Most importantly, this was where the first of the numbered treaties was signed. Here the process of establishing a sharing relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples of the west began.
As we know, Canada failed in many ways for many years to honour the words and the spirit of the treaties.
That did not stop Indigenous people from coming forward when Canada needed them and volunteering to protect this country.
Thousands of Indigenous men and women volunteered in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War.
Volunteers from every First Nation and every Metis community served alongside fellow Manitobans. They served in the trenches of the First World War. They served in the Second World War’s Battle of the Atlantic, in the air over Europe, in Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, and in the desperate defence of Hong Kong. They served in Korea and in every peacekeeping and security operation since.
In the Second World War and Korea, one Manitoban who continually distinguished himself with his courage and skill had a direct connection to our meeting place today, as the grandson of Chief Henry Prince, one of the signatories of Treaty One.
Today, as we recognize Sgt Tommy Prince as a Hometown Hero, we re-commit ourselves to sharing this land and to the values and principles that he and his comrades in arms defended.
Thank you. Merci. Meegwich.