November 8, is National Indigenous Veteran's Day in Canada.
I'm a Métis veteran. My husband jokes that I've been in the military my whole life, as I was born into a military family, then served for 28 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. I've been an entrepreneur and veteran for 10 years and counting.
It's that time of year again, when many people add bright red poppies to their clothing, to remember those who paid the ultimate price in service of the people in Canada.
I wear a poppy pin on my jacket all year round. It was gifted to me at a Remembrance Day ceremony on November 11, 2019, at the Legion branch in Trenton, Ontario, Canada.
The pin recognizes the contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis veterans. An excerpt from the Legion description reads "This commemorative pin presents the Legion Poppy on the centre of a dreamcatcher, their coupling acknowledging the efforts and sacrifices of Veterans from all" Indigenous Communities. The Métis sash surrounds the dreamcatcher and poppy, and two feathers and the Inukshuk represent First Nations peoples and the Inuit.
Today I celebrated National Indigenous Veterans Day, by zooming into a group of classrooms and answering students' questions about being a veteran. One asked what the hardest part of being in the military was for me. My answer - the push-ups! Another asked if I liked being in the military. My answer - I loved it, I got to meet wonderful people and travel to interesting parts of the world.
I'm grateful to Loretta Desouza, who I met through the Native Women's Association of Canada #BeTheDrum Program, for organizing the visit. I'm also grateful to have seen the four gorgeous beaded poppies created by Patti from White Owl Unique Crafts. She zoomed into the classrooms to teach the students how to make a beaded poppy.
One of my favourite parts about serving in the Canadian Armed Forces was that we all had the opportunity to thrive based on the work we did. People received promotions based on excelling in their current roles, demonstrating leadership and potential.
We also received equal pay, regardless of gender. Our pay was based on the rank we held, our occupation (job) and where we were serving. With people serving in dangerous areas or remote locations receiving additional compensation.
I’m proud to be a veteran, and honoured as an entrepreneur to collaborate with many organizations, strategic partners, and clients, to teach people tactics and strategies to help them discover their ideal jobs and to help employers in Canada create more inclusive workplaces.
Let’s share and learn from each other so we can all discover ways to thrive.