Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

August 20, 2009 15:30 ET

Aboriginal Basic Military Qualification Graduation

BORDEN, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 20, 2009) - The Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) BLACK BEAR program concluded today with 34 Aboriginal young people from across Canada graduating from the Aboriginal youth summer employment program. The BLACK BEAR course combined a shortened version of the BMQ course for CF reservists with Aboriginal traditions and ceremonies. The course focused on helping the young people develop self-confidence, teamwork skills, leadership and physical fitness.

"The young people who graduated today leave BLACK BEAR with a number of skills, such as leadership and teambuilding, which will help them throughout their lives and future careers," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway.

"Programs like BLACK BEAR offer Aboriginal youth from across Canada the opportunity to experience our culture and explore military careers before making a decision to join the CF," said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff.

The ceremony included a traditional Aboriginal naming ceremony, the presentation of a black bear sculpture and a drum and dance celebration to commemorate the event. Colonel Guy Hamel, Commander of CFB Borden and Commander Canadian Forces Support Training Group, was the reviewing officer for the parade and Glen Hare, Deputy Grand Chief of the Union of Ontario Indians, was the co-reviewing Officer.

"The men and women on parade today showed great courage leaving their homes to come to CFB Borden and participate in what is much more than a summer camp," said Colonel Hamel. "The accomplishments of the last seven weeks are something they should be proud of and the smile on their faces is amazing."

This was the inaugural year for BLACK BEAR, which is a joint venture between the Department of National Defence and Canadian Aboriginal groups, and is similar to the Aboriginal training programs BOLD EAGLE and RAVEN, which are conducted in Wainwright, Alberta and Esquimalt, British Columbia, respectively.

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