Indigenous history, culture, and diversity highlighted at NDHQ

Throat singers
Throat singers perform on the concourse at NDHQ. Photo: DND/CAF

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Defence Team members were treated to stories, music, dancing, and delicious food on the concourse at the National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) in Ottawa on May 24, as part of Indigenous Awareness Week.

Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk, Commander, Canadian Army and Defence Team Champion for indigenous people hosted the event. In his address, he expressed his gratitude to the indigenous people for their contributions to Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces. He highlighted the contributions of our 4000 indigenous First World War veterans, marking the War’s centennial next year.

Brigadier-General Jocelyn (Joe) Paul, Chief of Staff, Canadian Forces Intelligence Command (CFINTCOM), was born and raised in the First Nations’ community of Wendake, Quebec, and is a member of the Huron-Wendat First Nation. He shared his personal perspective on the history of the military alliances between the different colonial groups in North America and the indigenous people. He emphasized the role indigenous people have played in the defence of our country.

Image gallery

  • Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk
  • Drum dancers
  • Brigadier-Gen Jocelyn Paul
  • Algonquin representative Aurel Dubé

The event was live-streamed on the Army’s Facebook page, and included a women’s drum group, Inuit throat singing, drum dancing, and samples of indigenous food.

During Indigenous Awareness Week, we honour the indigenous people of Canada, past and present, and the many indigenous cultures that enrich the mosaic of the Defence Team and our nation. The theme for this year is “Dancing in Unison”, which invites members of the Defence Team to reflect on the past while looking to a positive future where we, whether indigenous or non-indigenous, can all thrive alongside each other to build a better Canada.

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