New Indigenous spiritual symbols for military headstones are unveiled at National Military Cemetery

National Defence

Today, during a solemn ceremony at the National Military Cemetery (NMC) at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) unveiled the first two symbols representing Indigenous spirituality for military headstones. The two symbols are the First Nations Medicine Wheel and the Métis Infinity symbol.

In spring 2021, the NMC acknowledged the need to personalize the final resting place of Indigenous CAF members and Veterans in order to better represent their spirituality. A consultation process was launched in order to engage with Elders and Indigenous groups to ensure that appropriate signs would be selected.

The addition of First Nations and Métis spirituality symbols to the military headstones of the NMC is made with respect to the various traditions unique to Indigenous communities across Canada. The Commander of the Canadian Army and Defence Team Champion for Indigenous Peoples, Lieutenant-General Jocelyn Paul, had the honour of revealing the symbols during the ceremony, which was also attended by Brigadier-General Dyrald Cross, Commander of Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group, and Captain (Navy) Bonita Mason, Chief of Staff to the Canadian Armed Forces Chaplain General.

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