REMEMBRANCE DAY 2021: BMO Donates Major Gift to Indigenous Veterans Initiative
Wednesday, November 10, 2021: BMO Bank has announced it will be making a sizeable donation to the Last Post Fund's Indigenous Veterans Initiative as part of their community outreach efforts in the context of Veterans Week.
This donation reflects its longstanding relationship with the Last Post Fund, which reaches back to the Fund’s inception in Montreal over a hundred years ago in 1909. When BMO became aware of the work being accomplished through the Indigenous Veterans Initiative, they felt it was a perfect choice for their Remembrance Day donation.
The funds donated, in the amount of $50,000 will be put towards the production of a documentary film about the Indigenous Veterans Initiative. The idea for a film project came from Maria Trujillo, IVI Project Coordinator, who was hoping that the stories of some of the Veterans could be brought to a larger audience, and as a way of honoring the life and service of the Indigenous Veterans that the Last Post Fund has helped commemorate.
When BMO approached LPF with the donation, we were able to make that project a reality. BMO is the exclusive donor to the film project.
Maria Trujillo has reached out to Fredericton-based filmmaker Desmond Simon, who is thrilled at the opportunity to create a film about the IVI.
"I am extremely excited to be a part of this film and to tell the stories of our Indigenous Veterans, I feel very connected to this film as I grew up in Elsipogtog First Nation, a Mi'kmaq community in New Brunswick, where there are many Veterans. I also served in the Canadian Armed Forces for several years." commented Desmond Simon. He adds, "I think the stories that our Veterans have are important to tell, and I would be honoured to be that person to help tell their stories."
Desmond Simon is a member of the Elsipogtog First Nation, a Mi’kmaq community in New Brunswick. Retired Cpl Desmond Simon served as a Combat Engineer in 4 Engineer Support Regiment, 43 CET Squadron, EOD Troop, ACES Team member. He is a freelance filmmaker / photographer living in Fredericton, NB.
Desmond will join forces with friend and fellow content-producer Nate Gaffey. Nate is a filmmaker and photographer, and is a member of Tobique Firest Nation (Neqotkuk) on the East Coast of Canada. Nate also expressed his enthusiasm about the project, and talked about the importance of returning their names to these forgotten Veterans:
"I hope that by creating this film and telling the stories of Indigenous Veterans, more Indigenous Veterans who currently have unmarked graves will have their names brought back to them where they rest. I hope the film acts as a vehicle for reconciliation between settlers and Indigenous communities. I hope the families of these Indigenous Veterans find support in knowing their loved ones' names are cared for by the people creating and featured in this film." commented Nate Gaffey. Nate reflects, "In Wolastoqiyik language, we often say "apc-oc knomiyul" which means "I will see you again." To those missing Indigenous Veterans names, apc-oc knomiyul. We will see you again."
Last Post Fund is sincerely grateful and offers its thanks to BMO for their gift, enabling this wonderful project to take wing.
Thank you, Wela'lin, Woliwon.