Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse, Commander Canadian Army and Defence Champion for Aboriginal Peoples, was presented with the DND and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Eagle Staff last week.
The presentation took place during the Defence Aboriginal Advisory Group’s (DAAG’s) 20th-anniversary celebration.
“I am honoured and humbled to receive the Eagle Staff. It is with great respect and dedication that I promise to uphold the tradition of this sacred symbol. The ideals for which the Staff stands, including bravery, integrity and strength of character, reflect the Canadian military ethos and I am very proud to share this honour with the defence community,” said Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse, commander, Canadian Army, Champion for Aboriginal Peoples.
The creation of the Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Eagle Staff began in 2002, with two former Aboriginal CAF members, Chief Petty Officer, 2nd Class (Retired) Debbie Eisan and Petty Officer, 2nd Class (Retired) Chris Innes. Their vision was inspired by the desire to create a powerful symbol of unity among Aboriginal women and men in DND and CAF, past and present.
The DND and CAF Eagle Staff became the traveling emblem of the Aboriginal Peoples on the Defence Team. It is a reminder that Canada will never forget the legacy of the First Peoples. The Staff represents traditional Aboriginal culture and clans, as well as traditional belief in spiritual entities, healing and reverence for the Creator and all life.
“This Eagle Staff is a powerful emblem that reinforces the values of inclusivity and respect for all members of the defence family, both past and present. It reminds us to recognize and value the ways in which the unique cultural, spiritual and traditional identities of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples enrich the military culture,” said Debbie Eisan, Eagle Staff Visionary Chief Petty Officer, 2nd Class (Retired).
The Staff must maintain a visible presence at Aboriginal celebratory functions. Therefore, it will be carried to events and ceremonies across the country whenever requested.
The ceremony took place at the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument in Confederation Park in Ottawa. It was the first stop on the Staff’s journey across Canada as it assumes its role as the travelling symbol of unity among Aboriginal Peoples in the defence community.
According to a statement by the CAF, Lieutenant-General Hainse was presented with the DND and CAF Eagle Staff so its meaning can be reinvigorated and recognized by current and future generations. The Staff travelled from its current location in Halifax to be recognized at the ceremony in the National Capital.
The month of June marks National Aboriginal History Month. It provides opportunities for all Canadians to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures, traditions and contributions to Canada. Moreover, National Aboriginal Day celebrations will take place across Canada on June 21st.