Canadian Armed Forces Indigenous Summer Programs offer career opportunities

Lakota Perreault tests his skill at the Canadian Army obstacle course at the Staal Foundation Open.
Lakota Perreault tests his skill at the Canadian Army obstacle course at the Staal Foundation Open.

Lakota Perreault tests his skill at the Canadian Army obstacle course at the Staal Foundation Open.
Lakota Perreault tests his skill at the Canadian Army obstacle course at the Staal Foundation Open.

OTTAWA –  “It brings me great pride to know that each summer, our programs are a great success and have such a positive and long-lasting impact. It is clear that they offer a life-changing experience for many of the candidates. My wish is that more Indigenous people will have the opportunity to experience life in the military and to benefit from new skills, without any obligation to continue to serve. However, I truly hope that many will consider a career in the Canadian Army Reserve or within the Defence Team,” states Brigadier-General Rob Roy MacKenzie, Director General Army Reserve.

Across Northwestern and Northern Ontario, many communities benefit from the Canadian Rangers and many youth gain valuable skills as Junior Canadian Rangers.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) 2018 Indigenous Summer Programs for Indigenous applicants are unique summer employment programs that combine Indigenous culture and teachings with basic military training. They deliver a challenging experience that develops hands-on skills, encourages teamwork, highlights physical fitness and promotes cultural awareness.

Candidates receive approximately $4,200 in salary and in many cases come away with school credits and valuable career experience. Participants will be provided transportation costs from their homes to the training sites and back again and will receive meals, accommodations, military equipment and clothing while undertaking the program.

These outreach programs are designed to build bridges into Indigenous communities in Canada and to raise awareness among Indigenous people of potential military or civilian careers with the CAF and the Department of National Defence (DND). Upon successful completion and if they wish to do so, graduates can pursue a career in the CAF Primary Reserve Force, Regular Force or work in a civilian occupation with DND.

“On behalf of the women and men of the Royal Canadian Navy, I want to thank the Indigenous youth from communities across Canada who have embraced the challenge and taken advantage of the Raven Indigenous Summer Program in Esquimalt, British Columbia. This incredible program provides young leaders with a range of personally and professionally rewarding experiences that will help them grow. They will be immersed in military life, develop new skills and learn about their Navy and the Canadian Armed Forces,” comments Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.

Quick facts

  • The Indigenous Summer Programs have been a great success in past years. As such, the Commander, Canadian Army, has directed the creation of two new programs to be led by the 2nd Canadian Division and the 4th Canadian Division starting in 2019.
  • Bold Eagle, a Canadian Army program operating since 1990 at Canadian Forces Base/Area Support Unit Wainwright, Alberta, is the largest of the three programs. This year, Bold Eagle will be held from July 9 to August 17, 2018.
  • Black Bear, also a Canadian Army program originating in 2008 at Canadian Forces Base Borden, in Ontario, has also been held at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, in New Brunswick since 2013. This year, Black Bear will be held from July 3 to August 8, 2018.
  • The Raven program, which is conducted by the Royal Canadian Navy, was implemented in the summer of 2003 and is held at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, in British Columbia. This year, Raven will be held from July 5 to August 15, 2018.
  • Participants have direct access to guidance, support and cultural teachings from dedicated program staff, including Indigenous Elders and Indigenous civilian counsellors throughout the duration of the three summer programs.
  • All participants are paid a salary, receive a Primary Reserve Basic Military Qualification upon completion of their program, and may choose to pursue employment with the Canadian Armed Forces or the Department of National Defence. They may also choose to apply their new skills and knowledge in other workplaces.
  • In the summer of 2018, approximately 200 participants will be taking part in Indigenous Summer Programs across Canada.