Special statement from President David Chartrand on the 80th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy

June 6, 2024

Winnipeg, MB, in the National Homeland of the Red River Métis - Today, as President of the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), the National Government of the Red River Métis, I ask all our Citizens to remember that 80 years ago today, many of our Red River Métis heroes made the ultimate sacrifice on foreign soil in defense of freedom and democracy - principles that our Nation still upholds to this day.

On the morning of June 6, 1944, Red River Métis families gathered around kitchen tables to hear Prime Minister Mackenzie-King's address to Canadians. They anxiously listened to the crackling radio and prayed for their loved ones, as they learned that the invasion of Western Europe had officially begun.

Across the Atlantic, our soldiers approached the beaches of Northern France with pounding hearts as the enemy became visible on the shoreline. The sounds of gunfire and roaring explosions guided them across the waves of the English Channel to face the Nazi Forces. The sights that these soldiers witnessed when they landed in Normandy were nothing short of harrowing.

The Allied Forces assigned the Canadians the seemingly impossible mission of securing a foothold on an eight-kilometre-long shoreline bordering Saint-Aubin, Bernières, Courseulles-sur-Mer, and Graye-sur-Mer, codenamed "Juno Beach". When the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade reached the beach, our soldiers were forced to witness many of their comrades fall to the ground beside them as they sprinted inland straight into the line of fire.

Despite the overwhelming odds they faced, their bravery and unwavering determination to liberate France proved to be stronger than the highly trained Nazi occupation. Equipped with keen instincts, traditional hunting and trapping skills, and a fierce sense of justice, our Red River Métis soldiers stormed through enemy lines and reached the furthest point inland of any of the other landings staged by the Allied Forces.

There can be no doubt that our Red River Métis soldiers played an integral role in these historic events, which we know today as D-Day. They demonstrated an understanding of how to navigate difficult terrain and a deep compassion for their Canadian comrades, in part because of our strong history of military tradition. They stood up when it mattered most, alongside their fellow Canadians, and defended those important values of freedom and democracy - but not without sacrifice.

Of the 14,000 Canadians who stormed Juno Beach eighty years ago, 340 made the ultimate sacrifice. The survivors, including our Red River Métis Veterans, suffered injuries to both body and mind that they had to carry for the rest of their lives. This includes those soldiers who went too deep behind enemy lines and were captured - these individuals suffered greatly as the Nazis did their best to put fear and terror into their hearts by selecting a soldier every morning, who was then shot as their fellow prisoners of war were forced to listen. These sacrifices were made with an unwavering commitment to fighting tyranny and oppression in pursuit of lasting peace.

The unparalleled D-Day victory successfully opened an entry point in Hitler's Atlantic Wall, which started the liberation of France and neighbouring countries. Our soldiers' commitment to defending Europe, Canada, and the Red River Métis Homeland left an enduring imprint on our people, serving as a beacon of inspiration that continues to guide generations of our Citizens to uphold the ideals of bravery, courage, and solidarity.

As their kin and descendants, we understand that we owe much of our Nation's freedom and prosperity to them. Although Canada didn't recognize our Veterans for many years, we remained faithful to honouring the strength and sacrifice of our servicemen and women and their families, ensuring that their legacies live on and their deeds are remembered. We also recognize and honour the mothers, wives and daughters who paid the deepest price on the home front, losing their sons, husbands and fathers to this important fight for freedom and democracy.

The MMF, the National Government of the Red River Métis are proud to have helped sponsored the delegation representing our government and our Red River Métis Veterans and Citizens, including Youth and MMF leaders, who are in France for the 80th Anniversary of the Juno Beach landing, as they pay tribute to the remarkable contributions of our people on D-Day. Together, we can ensure that our soldiers will be remembered forever in the hearts and minds of Canadians, and the world. I know they will spend time with our soldiers who are buried in foreign soil and remember our Veterans in the very place they fought to safeguard our freedom.

Today and every day, let us come together to honour and commemorate the extraordinary courage and selfless service of all Red River Métis soldiers - our heroes today, tomorrow, and forever.



For more information, media may contact:
Kat Patenaude
Media Relations Advisor
Manitoba Métis Federation


Believe in Yourself; Believe in Métis.

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) is the democratically elected National Government of the Red River Métis, also known as the Manitoba Métis. The Red River Métis are a distinct Indigenous Nation and People and Canada's Negotiating Partners in Confederation and the Founders of the Province of Manitoba.


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