ANISHINABEK NATION HEAD OFFICE, ON, April 27, 2022 /CNW/ - The Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe and Chiefs Veterans Committee are raising concerns regarding the approval of a condominium development a few meters from the Canadian Memorial on the D-Day landing site of Juno Beach in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France.
"Construction is to begin as early as September 2022 and we are appalled that this development received approval to move forward despite local efforts by the Juno Beach Centre to stop it," states Grand Council Chief Niganobe. "We are appealing to the Honourable Lawrence MacAuley, Minister of Veteran Affairs, and the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to work with their French government counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, to take immediate intervention measures on this development. We must consider the impacts this development will have on the fallen Veterans, their families, and the shared historic significance this site has to both of our nations."
Many Anishinabek Nation citizens served with the Canadian Military during World War II (WWII) and landed on Juno Beach on June 6, 1944. More than 14,000 Canadian soldiers landed in France on D-Day. The soldiers who seized Juno Beach demonstrated exemplary military skill and immeasurable courage resulting in over a thousand Canadian casualties, including 359 killed.
"Our Veterans have acutely stated that preserving the lands where many citizens from our Nation sacrificed their lives, is a sacred and cultural responsibility," states Melvin Hardy, Anishinabek Nation Northern Superior Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief and Chiefs Veterans Committee Chair. "We must ensure the continual honouring of their memory and care for the land in which this event happened. It is paramount in recognizing the selfless contributions made by WWII Veterans and all those that lost their lives in this horrific battle."
The historical significance of this site is important to the Anishinabek Nation, Indigenous nations, and Canadians alike, and should be to other nations who share in this history.
"We encourage the Royal Canadian Legion and global foreign veteran representative organizations to join in campaigning local governments through advocacy and via social media, in the effort to halt this development and support the memory of our Veterans," states Grand Council Chief Niganobe. "Furthermore, we urge the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to revisit the application made by the Juno Beach Centre to have all D-Day sites declared as World Heritage Sites. This recognition is crucial in ensuring the preservation of these threatened sites to remain protected from development."
The Anishinabek Nation is a political advocate for 39 member First Nations across Ontario, representing approximately 65,000 citizens. The Anishinabek Nation is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.
SOURCE Union of Ontario Indians