Cultural Understanding and Dialogue within the Canadian Armed Forces: Insights from Canadian Ranger Patrols
Keywords:Canadian Rangers, Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups, Canadian Armed Forces, civil-military relations, Nunavut, Nunavik, Inuit, interculturality
In November 2015, Prime Minister Trudeau stressed in his Minister of Defence Mandate Letter that “no relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples. It is time to renew the nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples so that it is based on recognition of rights, respect, collaboration and partnership.” In order to assess the relationships between Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), this article is centred on the relationships between Indigenous reservists and non-Indigenous military. Based on an inductive analysis of semi-structured interviews and field observations conducted in 2016 and 2017 in Nunavik, Quebec, and Nunavut, this contribution studies the relationships between Indigenous reservists and military within Canadian Rangers patrols, and aims at demonstrating how those patrols reinforce understanding and dialogue between the different cultures. As a subcomponent of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve, Canadian Ranger patrols from Nunavik and Nunavut are mainly composed of Indigenous Rangers under the responsibility of non-Indigenous Ranger instructors. Providing a meeting place between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, the patrols enable cultural understanding and dialogue between different cultures. An analysis of the relationships within those patrols offers a particularly relevant illustration of Inuit issues and people in the Canadian Armed Forces, and more broadly in Canadian society.
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