Looking back on Indigenous Awareness Week 2023

Article / June 13, 2023 / Project number: 22-0161

On May 25, 2nd Canadian Division Support Base Valcartier was at the centre of a unique cultural exchange held as part of Indigenous Awareness Week (IAW) 2023. The event brought together Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the Defence Team, as well as the community, in a climate conducive to sharing Indigenous knowledge and traditions.

During the event, participants had the opportunity to witness Indigenous traditions such as dances, a Smudging ceremony, and a drum song performance. They also had the chance to immerse themselves in Indigenous cultures by participating in themed workshops, visiting sacred sites, and enjoying a traditional feast.

Several guests of honour from Indigenous communities and the Defence Team also participated in the event, including Jean-Philippe Thivierge, a historian and member of the Huron-Wendat community, and Lieutenant-General Jocelyn Paul, Commander of the Canadian Army (CA), Defence Team Champion for Indigenous Peoples, and proud member of the Huron-Wendat Nation of Wendake. Both delivered evocative and inspiring speeches.

In addition to the event held in Valcartier on 25 May, others such as tipi-building workshops were organized across the country by the Defence Team throughout the week. All aimed to honor the theme for 2023, "Reconciliation is a path walked together." This served as a reminder that reconciliation is a joint effort among Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the Defence Team, as well as all Canadians.

As LGen  Paul expressed during the event, “Indigenous Awareness Week is a time to appreciate the many contributions made by Indigenous Peoples to the defence of this country. It is a story that began more than 400 years ago. New chapters are being written every day. And, as I want to share with you today, there is a bright future ahead for Indigenous Peoples in uniform.”

While IAW celebrations have concluded, our efforts to educate the Defence Team on Indigenous cultures continue through many other events, such as National Indigenous History Month. We invite you to visit the Facebook page of the CA to see how we will be highlighting upcoming events.

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