Thanks to Joe Paquette for information and pictures in this story.

(Left to right) George Kelly (Royal Canadian Navy),: Joseph Gagnon
(World War II) :and Jack Cadeau (Korea) with their awards from the
MNC recognizing their contributions and sacrifices as veterans.

During annual Back to Batoche Days celebrations in Saskatchewan, the Métis National Council (MNC) recognized the contributions and sacrifices of Métis Veterans by awarding all World War II Métis veterans the Order of the Métis National, which is the highest honour the MNC can bestow. Among those receiving the Order of the Métis National in Batoche was MNO citizen and veteran Joseph Gagnon. The MNC also presented all World War Two and Korean War Veterans with awards including Gagnon and MNO Citizens and Veterans George Kelly and Jack Cadeau.

The ceremonies were part of the MNC’s designation of 2011-2010 as the Decade of the Métis Nation. As the first year of the decade, 2011 is dedicated to paying tribute to Métis veterans involved in major conflicts and peacekeeping missions. The federal government also took advantage of the event to announce that it was funding a memorial to all Métis veterans at Batoche. In addition to Gagnon, Kelly and Cadeau, MNO veterans Joesph Paquette and Jean Camirand also attended the Batoche ceremonies. Paquette felt that the ceremonies and honours were handled beautifully. Each veteran was matched with a Métis youth and participated in a talking circle with the youth. “It was totally awesome,” said Paquette, “the MNC did an awesome job taking care of the veterans, and letting us know that we are appreciated. The Métis Nation-Saskatchewan also did a great job with the whole Back to Batoche event.”