A training program combining Indigenous culture and teachings with military training is returning this summer.

The Bold Eagle Program is a youth development program that operates from early July to late August and aims at helping youth develop skills such as self-confidence, self-discipline, teamwork, time management, respect, and fitness.

“The Bold Eagle Program is a program that is run in coordination with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, so they take care of a lot of the cultural aspects of the program. The program itself is a youth development program specifically for Indigenous youth, and it has been running since 1989,” said Program Assistant Coordinator Captain Natalie Gareau.

Upon being accepted into the program, youth will be provided with meals and accommodations; military clothing and equipment to use during the training; transportation from home to the training location and back home; and approximately $4,200 in salary while attending the program.

“One of the key requirements is to be a self-declared Indigenous person, as it is a specifically Indigenous program. All candidates must be at least sixteen years of age upon applying for the program; the application deadline is April 30,” explained Gareau. “Within the program there are specific cultural aspects. So, it begins with a culture week, which is run by the FSIN and has cultural elders as well as different cultural aspects that you can see in Indigenous culture, and then from week 2 to week  6, you have the basic military qualifications that are run in the reserves. The courses run the same way that they would if you were running a reserve course with the addition of Indigenous components.”

While taking part in the program, youth will be taught skills such as weapon handling, navigation with a map and compass, first aid, drill, outdoor fieldcraft, and survival skills. The Bold Eagle program’s training takes place in Wainwright, Alberta, at the 3rd Canadian Division Training Centre from the 3rd of July to the 11th of August.

(Photo courtesy of the government of Canada.)