101-Year-Old Mixed Race Saskatchewan Veteran Remembered for His Enduring Legacy | The Canadian News

A 101-year-old mixed-race veteran is being remembered for his powerful legacy, his quiet strength, and his endless kindness.

Louis Roy died Tuesday at a nursing home in the northern Saskatchewan town of Ile-a-la-Crosse. He was one of the oldest veterans of World War II.

“He was just a wealth of knowledge to me,” said Glenda Burnouf, his granddaughter, of Turtleford, Sask.

“I always thought: ‘My grandfather, there is nothing he can’t do.'”

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Roy was born on the north side of Lake Ile-a-la-Crosse in 1920 and his family depended on trap fishing. When his father died 13 years later, the family moved to Beauval, about 50 miles to the south.

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Roy, who could speak Cree, English and French, enlisted in the Army in 1942 when he was 21 years old and became a member of the Saskatoon Light Infantry. He trained in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba before taking a train to Halifax, where he boarded a ship for Europe to face the terrors and challenges of war.

Louis Roy, seen in an undated photo, enlisted in the Army in 1942 when he was 21 years old and became a member of the Saskatoon Light Infantry.

Glenda Burnouf / Brochure

For the next three years, Roy served in England, Africa, and Italy. He spoke about his experiences during the war in a video made by the Métis National Council in 2019.

He talked about losing friends and companions. He said he was never injured, but he was very close many times.

He suffered from hearing loss due to close-range shooting and shelling and ended up in a hospital for a few weeks at the end of the war. While there, he volunteered to help the staff and patients.

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Like many indigenous veterans, Roy said he didn’t get much support from the military when he returned to Canada after the war.

“They gave us some money to use on the way,” he said in the video. Many mixed-race veterans have long said they did not have access to disability pensions, education, loans and other benefits available to others who served in World War II.

“Louis was one of many brave Métis citizens who enlisted to serve in Canada’s armed forces against the evils of the world, all while facing discrimination at home,” Manitoba Métis Federation President David Chartrand said in a statement. release.

“He was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice and serve his country alongside his brothers and sisters in arms.”

In 2019, decades after the war, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered Métis veterans a recognition payment and an apology. Roy was the first to receive it, the Manitoba Métis Federation said.

Burnouf said his grandfather didn’t often talk about his time in the war and instead focused on bringing love to his family.

“He lived such a full life filled with so many experiences, so much adventure,” he said.

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“He was loved by so many people.”

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“Just remind us, that’s all we ask,” says the Saskatoon veteran.

After Roy returned from the war, he trapped and fished while raising his family, including 10 children, near the area where he grew up. Later, he worked as a carpenter before retiring in 1985 at age 65.

In reality, he never abandoned either way of life and, when he was 85 years old, he built a house on the shore of a lake.

He was excited to pass on all of his life lessons to his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“He was that quiet grandfather,” Burnouf said. “He was always teaching us things, showing us things.”

Roy moved into the senior facility in 2020 after a century of adventure, achievement and independence, his family said.

Burnouf added that many people and organizations have reached out since his death. But the legacy for his family will always be the endless amount of love and advice he shared.

“He just had that aura about him.”

Click to Play Video: 'Honoring Indigenous Veterans is a Relatively New Concept'

Honoring indigenous veterans is a relatively new concept

Honoring Indigenous Veterans Is A Relatively New Concept – Nov 11, 2021

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