West Kelowna  

Syilx honoured by Dragoons

Rob Gibson

A first in Canadian military history may have been achieved in West Kelowna on Thursday.

"As far as our military historians can tell, this is the first time a Canadian military tactical armoured patrol vehicle has been given an Aboriginal name," said Capt Jeff Daley of the B.C. Dragoons.

"It was really touching to hear the B.C. Dragoons reaching out to our staff to honour their tactical vehicle with a Syilx name," said Westbank First nation's councillor Tom Konek.

The unveiling coincided with National Aboriginal Veterans Day, and the ceremony was held at the Westbank First Nation community core multi-park.

The actual name given the beefy TAP-V is a literal translation of "Dragoon," but is unpronounceable in the English language.

As many as 4,000 Indigenous people served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War, according to estimates from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the number in the Second World War was similar.

This is the fifth year the WFN has held a remembrance service beside a sculpture depicting three warriors.

"Today is about honouring the contributions that our ancestors made. They have been involved in all of the major conflicts that Canada has been involved in, in the 20th century," said Konek.

Daley said the Dragoons felt they needed to do something as an act of reconciliation.

It's a small step, but an important one that was much appreciated by Konek. "it's a pretty rare honour," he said.

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