Plane of Reconciliation project honours Indigenous Peoples in the Canadian Armed Forces

News release

10 February 2020—Comox, British Columbia—Veterans Affairs Canada

Today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, announced a contribution of $13,500 through the Commemorative Partnership Program to the Comox Valley Airport Commission in support of their Plane of Reconciliation project.

Through this project, the Comox Valley Airport has recently installed above its departures lounge a replica of a First World War Nieuport Biplane donated by the late Captain David Freeman, a long time pilot and aviation enthusiast. Freeman, along with a group from across Canada known as Vimy Flight, flew replica Nieuport Biplanes over Vimy Ridge on 9 April 2017.

Freeman’s wish was to see the contributions and sacrifices of Indigenous Peoples, and all Canadian Veterans, honoured through the installation of this plane. Inspired by the Comox Canadian Forces Base unit badge which features the Kwakiutl Thunderbird, he asked that it be added to the installation.

The original badge, designed in consultation with K’ómoks Chief Andy Frank and Chief Mungo Martin in the early 1960s, was re‑created by Chief Mungo Martin’s great grandson, Hereditary Chief “walas `Namugwis” David Mungo Knox for this project. It can now be seen displayed on the plane, alongside a dedication to Freeman, by the more than 400,000 people who transit through Comox Airport annually.

Quotes

“Indigenous Peoples have a long and proud tradition of military service to our country. I’m pleased to announce our support for such a meaningful commemorative project that serves as a symbol of reconciliation and as a testament to the history of Indigenous Peoples and the unique sacrifices they have made in service to Canada.”

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“This project would not have been possible without the contribution of Captain David Freeman, MP Rachel Blaney’s office, numerous volunteers, and the support of Veterans Affairs Canada.  We are grateful for the opportunity to showcase Canadian aviation history, while recognizing the significant contributions by the K’ómoks First Nation in this collaborative display.”

Alex Robertson, Chief Executive Officer, Comox Valley Airport CEO

Quick facts

  • Veterans Affairs Canada’s Commemorative Partnership Program provides funding to organizations undertaking remembrance initiatives. Organizations planning a commemorative event or project in their communities are encouraged to apply for funding.

Associated links

Contacts

Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada
613-992-7468
vac.media-medias.acc@vac-acc.gc.ca

John Embury
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
john.embury@canada.ca

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