Consult CFB Esquimalt, First Nations on How to Cooperate: War Racism Report

A report on racism in Canada’s ranks says that the military is not a desirable place for Indigenous recruits, but it also says there are lessons to be learned from the Greater Victoria Naval Base.

Defense Secretary Anita Anand on Monday released the group’s final report following a year-long review of racism, discrimination and extremism in the Canadian Forces (CAF) and the Department of National Defense.

The commission was made up of four retired military officers who represent diverse backgrounds and backgrounds in the areas of anti-racism, fairness, diversity and inclusion, the federal government said.

Their report states that by the time young recruits enter the ranks, they are “rooted in Canada’s distorted history” due to the fact that education in the country only represents the point of view of the colonizers and settlers.

The report says it ignores the history of indigenous peoples, the original inhabitants of what is now Canada, and their existence on that land thousands of years before European intervention.

The group said that until these shortcomings in the education system are corrected, Canada’s Defense Command must step up its efforts to ensure that its workforce is aware of the real history of indigenous peoples.

Among several recommendations to renew CAF’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples is a call for alliances with individual communities.

The group noted the collaboration between the CFB Esquimalt and the Lekvungen speaking Eskimalt and Songi peoples as a successful example.

“Sharing such best practices and experiences will benefit leaders from all bases and units across Canada, not just those whose Indigenous communities are near their military installations,” the base-Indigenous cooperation group said. “This will create opportunities for mutual learning and awareness-raising that can be exploited on a wider geographic scale.”

Canada’s military, whose ranks are predominantly (71 percent) white men, does not reflect the composition of the country’s population.

While several programs aim to increase the recruitment of indigenous youth, the commission found that the military culture does not welcome the unique perspectives of these people and does not respect their traditions.

“Indigenous programs seem almost like an attempt to ‘bring them in the door’ so that they can then be assimilated into traditional military uniforms, without further consideration of their cultural diversity,” the report says. “Very little effort has been made to expand access to traditional indigenous medicines or spiritual practices such as fumigation ceremonies.

“There is no appreciation for their spoken languages ​​and no accommodations for their lack of ‘bilingualism’ in the official languages.”


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