CANADIAN RECRUITMENT PROGRAM
Recruitment and Retention Measures
In the early 1970s, the armed forces began to deploy special recruitment efforts to encourage Aboriginal people to enlist. The Northern Aboriginal Enrollment Program was launched in 1971 to attract Aboriginal people living north of 60 in the Canadian Forces. A specially created recruitment agency is responsible for visiting Arctic communities on a regular basis. Interested Aboriginal candidates are invited to pre-recruitment training to prepare them to meet the demands of military life. However, this initiative has had little success: few recruits have the required education, fewer are those who complete basic education, and only a tiny fraction of them end up in careers in the Canadian Forces. The program is therefore suspended in 1999.
The new initiatives that follow are better for both Aboriginal participants and the military. The Bold Eagle Program, a joint initiative of the Department of National Defense, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) and the Saskatchewan Indian Veteran's Association, was launched in 1990. The program to increase self-esteem among Aboriginal youth in the Prairie Provinces. The program includes six weeks of basic training for militia recruits complemented by First Nations-led FSIN-led First Nations cultural awareness activities. Participants are introduced to life and service in the Canadian Forces. The program is a huge success. For example, 58 of the 59 candidates in Exercise Bold Eagle 1999 are graduating. Graduates are not required to enter the Primary Reserve at the end of the course, but they have the opportunity. In 1999, ten participants enlisted in the Primary Reserve and three in the Regular Force. Many others are returning to their communities with a newfound confidence. According to Howard Anderson, Grand Chief of the Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans, the young people are coming out of the Bold Eagle Program "with their heads up and devilishly proud. It's really a great band of young people when they come out. " Bomber Kisha Potts, a graduate of the program, enlisted in the Reserve and will serve in Afghanistan. Another program, Sergeant Tommy Prince Army Training Initiative, is aimed at increasing the number of Aboriginal people serving in the infantry and related combat arms trades.
Recruited participants are grouped into platoon-sized units and take a specialized familiarization course that incorporates Aboriginal perspectives and values.
The Canadian Forces Aboriginal Enlistment Program was launched in 2000 to inform Aboriginal people, prior to enlistment, of training and full-time employment opportunities in the Regular Force. While the Northern Aboriginal Enrollment Program focused exclusively on recruiting Aboriginal youth from remote northern areas, the new program welcomes Aboriginal recruits from across the country. It includes two pre-recruitment training courses: the first is held in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, for recruits living in the Far North, and the second in Farnham, Quebec for all recruits. program. At the end of the course, candidates may apply for Regular Force employment and begin basic military qualification, but are not required to do so. When the program was announced, the Minister of National Defense hoped that it would double the proportion of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people serving in the Canadian Forces to 3 per cent. 100.
In 2007, the Chief of Military Personnel announces the "Aboriginal Leadership Year (AILA)," a one-year program to be held at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. thirty or so native candidates. The first contingent arrives at the beginning of the 2008 school year. The program, offered under the direction of the Canadian Defense Academy, is "an important step in ensuring that Aboriginal candidates have the opportunity to make friends, interact , to learn and develop leadership skills in a bilingual, multicultural and particularly diverse environment. "
The purpose of AILA is to enable selected Aboriginal candidates to pursue academic studies, acquire military skills, develop leadership skills and play sports.
This program fosters leadership and personal growth in a stimulating and positive learning environment, contributes to Canadian Forces outreach activities in Canadian communities, and provides opportunities for Aboriginal people to serve Canada as leaders, possibly in Canada. within the Canadian Forces. AILA candidates are selected from all regions of Canada by a senior review committee composed of senior civilian officials and senior military officers who are advised by an Aboriginal Advisory Committee, which includes educational advisors from four major Aboriginal groups (Assembly First Nations, Métis National Council, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and National Association of Friendship Centers). Cultural support activities are conducted in consultation with the Advisory Committee.
Over the last 10 years, the military has taken other important steps to make the Canadian Forces more welcoming to Aboriginal people and their unique cultures. The Aboriginal Defense Advisory Group is working to improve the relationship between Aboriginal people and the military by identifying the issues facing Aboriginal and Canadian military and civilian personnel in the Department of National Defense and the Canadian Forces, increasing Retention rates and ensuring comfortable and productive workplaces for Aboriginal people. The military has also taken steps to respect religious beliefs by allowing Aboriginal people in uniform to keep their braids, as long as it does not compromise safety. The Forces recognize that the diversity of Canadian society is an asset and that Aboriginal members are an essential part of their future strategy to remain a proud institution, representative of the peoples of Canada and their common aspirations and values.
Aboriginals serving overseas with the Canadian Forces today continue to enrich their military heritage. They also contribute greatly to preserving the heritage of the units in which they serve the country. In 2006, Sergeant Leblanc organized a small expedition to climb two peaks of the Rocky Mountains near Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Kananaskis, Alberta. Operation SUMMIT DUKE was to place two commemorative plaques at the summit of the peaks named in honor of two former commanders. As part of an agreement with Parks Canada, both plates were installed at the beginning of the upper Kananaskis Lake trail, which overlooks both peaks. Mount Hart-McHarg was named in honor of Lieutenant-Colonel William Frederick Hart-McHarg, killed in action during the Second Battle of Ypres on April 24, 1915. Mount Worthington honors Lieutenant Colonel Donald Grant Worthington , killed in action during the Battle of Normandy on August 9, 1944.