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Indigenous community members take part in Canadian Armed Forces summer programs

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will once again welcome youth from Canada’s Indigenous community to take part in three distinct summer programs throughout the months of July and August.

Each year, approximately 150 youth attend either the Bold Eagle, Black Bear or Raven programs. These Indigenous Summer Programs aim to provide the youth from this community a taste of military life while developing skills like self-confidence, self-disciple, time management and team work.

“I am pleased that these three Indigenous Summer Programs have proved so successful over the years. This demonstrates the strong links that exist between our Indigenous communities and the Canadian Armed Forces. Indigenous youth are provided the opportunity to experience life in the military and benefit from acquired skills, without any obligation to continue to serve. We hope that these character-building skills will benefit them for the rest of their lives, we also hope that some will choose the Canadian Armed Forces as a full or part-time career,” said LGen. Paul F. Wynnyk, Commander of the Canadian Army, and Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces Champion for Indigenous Peoples.

Bold Eagle and Black Bear are both programs conducted by the Canadian Army. Bold Eagle, operating out of CFB Wainwright, AB, is the largest of the three programs.

Black Bear, originated in Borden, ON in 2008, and has been held at CFB Gagetown, NB since 2013.

The Raven program is conducted by the Royal Canadian Navy and was implemented in the summer of 2003. It is held at CFB Esquimalt, BC.

All courses begin with a four-day Culture Camp, conducted by Indigenous Elders and teachers.

The participants are enrolled as soldiers in the Primary Reserve of the Army or Navy. Upon graduation, they receive a Reserve Basic Military Qualification, but are not obliged to continue serving in the CAF. All participants are paid a salary.

There are currently 2,478 Indigenous members serving in the CAF Regular Force and Primary Reserve Force, combining for a 2.7 per cent representation.


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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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Canadian Military Family Magazine