People continue to mourn the loss of one of Saskatchewan’s most prominent First Nations veterans’ advocates.
After a battle with cancer, Ray Sanderson passed away recently at the age of 76.
Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association Grand Chief Steven Ross says Sanderson never stopped fighting for the rights of Indigenous people who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces.
“He worked very diligently on getting benefits for First Nations veterans,” he says. “As well, as we are all aware, First Nations veterans didn’t get their full benefits when they came out of the armed forces, First World War or Second World War.”
However, Ross says perhaps Sanderson’s biggest achievement was the role he played in ensuring Indigenous veterans are recognized for their military service on their gravestones when they pass away.
“He got it underway for First Nations veterans. He made some contacts and some connections with Veterans Affairs (department of) and found out, ‘yeah, there is something else that our veterans are entitled to.’”
Hundreds attended funeral services for Sanderson Wednesday on the James Smith Cree Nation.
He enlisted in the military when he was just 17-years-old and was stationed in Europe.
A memorial service was also held for Sanderson on Monday night in Saskatoon.
(PHOTO: Ray Sanderson. Photo courtesy of Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association Facebook page.)