Article by 25366 Anna-Michelle Shewfelt
Photos by 28230 OCdt Victoria Pierrot
On Friday, June 7, 2019, the Royal Military College hosted a ceremony marking the completion of the year-long Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year (ALOY) Program. ALOY is a one-year program designed to expose students of Aboriginal heritage to the military and to train them in key leadership skills. The ALOY program allows participants the opportunity to develop a variety of skill sets while gaining accreditation for further post-secondary education.
The reviewing officer for the ceremony was BGen Joe Paul, who was born in the First Nations’ community of Wendake, Quebec, and is a member of the Huron-Wendat First Nation and who currently serves as the Commander of 4th Canadian Division and Joint Task Force (Central). BGen Paul was present on behalf of LGen Jean-Marc Lanthier, Defence Team Champion for Indigenous Peoples and Commander of the Canadian Army.
“RMC is one of Canada’s finest military institutions,” BGen Paul told the ALOY Cadets in his address. “I’m always impressed by the Great Canadians I meet here, and especially by you. Every single one of you is Canada’s future. We need people like you. People who are proud of our rights, proud of who we are, but who are looking to the future and ready to do right by our communities.”
“You’ve been through a lot in the past year,” he went on. “Every single one of you has asked yourself, ‘What am I doing here?'” You have faced those challenges and you have succeeded. And every single one of us here today is incredibly proud. You are walking a beaten path made by those who went before you. What you’re doing, our ancestors have been doing forever. You can make it!”
18777 BGen Sébastien Bouchard, Commandant of RMC, used the ceremony has an opportunity to reflect. “Eleven months ago it was day number two for you,” he reminded the ALOY Cadets. “Everything was new. And it was a bit of a shock. Room inspection, PT early in the morning, drill… it was a hell of a challenge. You did not give up.”
“I remember talking to you then about the importance of family, both here and back home. This has been your family for this year. Some of you will leave to go back to your communities and some of you will stay with us but this is a family you will have with you wherever you go. And RMC is a better place for having had you here.”
BGen Bouchard also took the opportunity to hand out three Commandant’s Coins. The first went to G0872 Maj (ret’d) Dr. Michael Boire, who is retiring this year. The second went to 25270 2Lt Ian Plante-Signal and the third went to 28230 OCdt Victoria Pierrot.
Above (l-r): BGen Bouchard presents Commandant’s Coins to G0872 Maj (ret’d) Michael Boire, 27570 2Lt Ian Plante-Signal, and 28230 OCdt Victoria Pierrot
With thanks to RMC Public Affairs.
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