Aboriginal Recrutis Dropping Out of Military

Friday, October 08, 2004 at 13:43



The Canadian armed forces are having a hard time hanging on to Aboriginal recruits.


Master Corporal Brian Ennis is originally from the Cowessess First Nation and how serves as the Aboriginal recruiter for the military in Saskatoon.


Ennis says the Bold Eagle cadet program is helping, but only about 25 per cent of former cadets who give the armed forces a try decide to stick with it.


Ennis says the retention rate for Aboriginal recruits that don’t take the Bold Eagle program is about 11 per cent.


Ennis says most Aboriginal recruits can’t handle the long periods of time they spend away from home.


Ennis hopes a new initiative called the Tommy Prince program — which groups Aboriginal recruits together — will address the isolation factor.


Ennis also says the military is trying to make accommodations on cultural issues, including making allowances for Aboriginal recruits to wear long hair in a braid.


Ennis feels the Canadian military is doing a lot more for Aboriginal recruits than they did when he first entered the forces 26 years ago.