First Nations hold mourning ceremony

Representatives of all Treaty #3 First Nations, together with Canadian and U.S. war veterans, gathered at the Nanicost pow-wow grounds here Tuesday morning to honour those who died in last week’s terrorist attacks.
“We are here to pray for those people and what has happened in New York City,” said Seine River elder Jim Boshkaykin, who spoke and was one of the drummers at the ceremony.
“What we are doing will affect us, our children, and our babies who are not born yet,” he added.
More than 100 people attended the opening ceremony this morning, where veterans hoisted the Canadian and American flags to half-mast to show pride in the countries but mourning for the loss of lives.
“This puts everything into perspective. The young ones out there take a good look at what’s happening,” suggested Jerome Whiteman, commander of the Bois Fort Honour Guard in Nett Lake, Mn.
“What we do today is going to determine what’s going to happen tomorrow,” he added. “We never know what’s going to happen tomorrow and we had proof of that at 8:45 a.m. last Tuesday.”
Many veterans have had a hard time with last week’s events and the looming prospect of war, Whiteman noted.
“We’re very grateful and thankful to be here today,” he said. “A lot of the veterans went though a very hard time this week because of what happened 30 years ago.
“I tried to live my normal life but I was upset by what was going on,” he added.
“This is not a protest,” noted First Nation resident Gilbert Smith. “This is a peace gathering where we are going to pray to the Manitou.
“We’re here for a good purpose, we’re here for a good way of life,” he added.
The ceremony was scheduled to continue throughout the day with drumming, dancing, and words from elders of First Nations communities.
The ceremony was to honour not only victims of the terrorism in New York and Washington but victims of war throughout the world and throughout time.
“This has never been done here,” said Boshkaykin. “The reason we’re doing this is for everybody, including children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so forth, from all walks of life.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re black, white, green, or blue,” he stressed.