Students at Whitecap Dakota Elementary School celebrated the 10th anniversary of their Remembrance Day ceremony Monday by commemorating some lesser-known veterans.
Taped to the gym’s walls are the names of 38 Dakota men who were hanged by the United States government in 1862 in Mankato, Minnesota. The mass execution marked the end of the Dakota War, which also saw 150 Dakota and 77 American soldiers killed in battle and up to 800 American civilians killed.
Pat Yuzicappi-Buffalo said people remember veterans from major wars, but not the Dakota men.
“So I want (the students) to remember that we also have many generations of people that fought for us to be here today and to live in this safe world,” she said.
The school’s annual ceremony highlights Aboriginal veterans, particularly local Dakota veterans. Students like 10-year-old Emmett read poems to commemorate the event.
“I had to practice for about a week,” Emmett said. “I was very honoured to go up there and say a poem during the Remembrance Day ceremony.
Emmett said he spent the ceremony thinking of the soldiers that sacrificed their lives for their freedom.
“I say, lest we forget,” veteran Peter Tomkins said. “A lot of people here don’t have any relatives in the military, but they get a sense of why we remember.”
The ceremony also featured drumming, wreath laying by families of deceased veterans and a moment of silence.