On Saturday, Oct. 5, Gary LaPlante of Moosomin First Nation was inducted as Knight of the Order of Saint George at St George’s Cathedral in Kingston, Ont.
The OStG Canada and the Americas consists of some 400 distinguished Canadians and Americans, representing all walks of society, who have demonstrated exemplary service to their countries and communities. The Patron of OStG Canada and the Americas is General (retired) Rick Hillier OC CMM ONL MSC CD and the focus of the 2019 OStG Investiture ceremony are the manifold contributions of Canada’s founding Indigenous peoples.
In advance of the ceremony, LaPlante stated that he is “honoured and welcomes the investiture on behalf of his great grandfathers, Antoine Xavier LaPlante, Louis Leveille, and their brothers and sons, all of whom were arguably the original Peace Keepers/Makers during the settlement of Canada’s Prairie Provinces.”
LaPlante’s forefathers were Plains Métis scouts and couriers for the North West Mounted Police, who often acted as intermediaries between the Indigenous plains tribes and the European settlers. They guided the NWMP on the “March West” in 1874, which was in response to the Cypress Hills massacre and the Canadian government’s fears of military intervention by the United States. In 1876, they were the original intermediaries between Major James Morrow Walsh of the NWMP and the prominent Sioux leader, Sitting Bull, who led thousands of his people to take refuge in Canada after the Battle of Little Bighorn.
It was during this tumultuous time that Antoine Xavier LaPlante paid the ultimate price for his service to the NWMP. He was shot and killed near Sitting Bull’s Camp by the Old Legare Post in Wood Mountain. Antoine Xavier LaPlante was never referenced in Canadian history books and all that exists to commemorate his death is an old gravestone in the hills near Wood Mountain, surrounded by a bronze fence for an “unidentified member of the NWMP.”
Gary LaPlante believes Canadian history does not have to be rewritten, but that it could be made richer with the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives and facts.
Also Invested by the OStG will be personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces, first responders and many other Indigenous Canadians who have made contributions to their communities and to the country.
Gary LaPlante biography:
Gary LaPlante, BA, is a Cree-speaking Plains Cree-Métis descendant of the buffalo hunter of the northern Great Plains of North America. His formative education and character are deeply rooted in traditional values and culture and the tutelage of his uncles and elders.
LaPlante majored in history and holds a college diploma in small business. He is an effective and stalwart advocate for the equItable participation of Indigenous peoples in the public and private sectors. He has extensive board governance experience, notably the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations’ Indian Government Commission, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority and the First Nations University of Canada.
LaPlante is highly respected in the media industry as a publisher and correspondent. He published three Indigenous newspapers, including the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan’s New Breed Journal, accomplishments for which he was named a member of the National Aboriginal Communications Society.
He was appointed the Métis National Council designate to Indigenous Survival International, representing Indigenous hunters and trappers. He participated in the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro as a member of the Government of Canada’s supported NGOs.
Dearest to his heart is work on behalf of his ancestors toward reconciliation and restorative justice for Stoney Knoll First Nation of Treaty 6 and dedication to his First Nation, Moosomin. LaPlante is both an advocate for his people and a bridge to all Canadians.