Indigenous awareness training supports Carcajou, the Army’s newest Indigenous summer training program

Carcajou program’s inaugural year well-supported by Indigenous awareness training

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Article / March 14, 2019 / Project number: 19-0056

By Lieutenant Gabriel Bond-Castelli, Carcajou Program Coordinator with files from Army Public Affairs

Mont St-Hilaire, Quebec — With the Army’s newest Indigenous summer training program, known as Carcajou, on the horizon, senior leaders and recruitment personnel from 2nd Canadian Division spent a full day at a workshop dedicated to increasing their awareness of Indigenous issues and culture to support their work with program participants and with Indigenous co-workers in general.

On January 31, 2019, the Commander of the 2nd Canadian Division, Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan joined her senior officers, sergeants-major and recruiters at Kiuna College located in Odanak, which is an Abenaki First-Nation Community about 120 kilometres northeast of Montreal, Quebec.

Prior to taking on a full day of professional development dedicated to Indigenous Awareness, the group was traditionally welcomed by the community’s leadership.

The event’s objectives were to build on overall knowledge about Indigenous Peoples in Canada to guide senior leaders and recruiters in leading by example. A second objective was to prepare them to support the inaugural year of the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) newest six-week Indigenous summer program: Carcajou.

Meaning “wolverine” in English, the program name was chosen as this animal has an impressive survival instinct. It is cunning, fierce and very protective of its family.

This bilingual program will take place in Valcartier, Quebec from early July to mid-August and applications from anywhere in Canada are being accepted until April 30, 2019.

For more about the Carcajou program and other CAF programs, refer to the Related Links below.

Awareness presentation authentic and forward-thinking

The presentation was hosted by Warrant Officer Moogly Tetrault-Hamel, Indigenous Advisor to the Canadian Armed Forces Chaplain General, who has been presenting Indigenous awareness training across Canada for the past four years and continues to do so.

He was accompanied by local CAF Veteran Luc O’Bomsawin, a former Sûreté du Québec officer who is now a correctional services officer from Odanak. He is well-known for his continued involvement and support of the CAF.

The presentation centred on the Indigenous perspectives of Canadian history. It also reflected on certain current-day challenges among Indigenous Peoples that are directly linked to generational trauma related to the residential school system and other issues.

WO Tetrault-Hamel described a number of positive ongoing military initiatives intended to build strong long-term relationships between the CAF and Indigenous Peoples of Canada. He also explained various aspects of a wide variety of Indigenous cultures and spirituality in Canada.

“No matter where we stand in Canada, it is impossible to find a land which has not been inhabited by Indigenous Peoples for thousands of years. Today we still count 634 recognized First-Nation Communities, over 50 Inuit groups and many Métis descendants across Canada,” WO Tetrault-Hamel said,

“As leaders, as policy makers, as influencers and as Canadians, it is most important to genuinely enact reconciliation because its various goals are not destinations but journeys which can only occur through long-term partnerships,” he continued,

WO Tetrault-Hamel concluded, “To heal the past, we must begin by taking the time to acknowledge our darkest historical chapters and by opening our eyes to the current situations which are directly linked to our collective history as Canadians.”

More about Carcajou and other CAF summer programs

Carcajou is a bilingual, paid summer training program that combines Indigenous culture and teachings with military training. The skills learned are valuable whether the participants choose to remain in the military or return to their communities.

There are five CAF Indigenous programs. Besides Carcajou, they include Bold Eagle in Wainwright, Alberta; Raven in Esquimalt, British Columbia; Black Bear in Oromocto, New Brunswick; and Grey Wolf in Meaford, Ontario.

Participants have an exciting experience that will develop practical skills and push their physical limits within a framework that will help them to grow and learn about themselves. The format of Carcajou will help them to reach their full potential by focusing on teamwork, self-discipline, leadership, self-confidence and fitness.

They will also receive lessons from various First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities so that they can learn more about diverse Indigenous cultural practices in Canada.

At the end of the program, they will be presented with various options to continue serving in the CAF or not. For example, they could continue to serve in the Army Reserve with the unit closest to their place of residence or place of study, or they could sign up with the full-time Regular force.

For more information and application information for Carcajou and other summer training programs, please refer to Related Links.

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