The Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year Program has had an eventful past two months, with many varied and interesting events. From a visit to the Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre to participating in a parade at Six Nations Reserve in Ohsweken Ontario, ALOY has well represented itself to the public and to other military members. The Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year Program is a one year leadership course offered at the Royal Military College of Canada. ALOY candidates have a four-pillared program much like RMCC Cadets do, the only difference being that ALOY Cadets learn about their culture instead of a focus on bilingualism. The goal of the ALOY program is to instill leadership abilities in the candidates so that when they graduate they have the capability to return to their communities and lead to constructive change , as well as being better equipped for university by having completed several university courses while in the ALOY program. ALOY Candidates are fully immersed in the aspects of military life from basic training to drill, and to leading their peers under the supervision of experienced NCOs and senior RMCC Cadets. The ALOY program, at its core, is designed to give young and promising aboriginals the skills and opportunity to lead their own destiny.
ALOY helps conduct an Archaeological Dig
Written by OCdt Guimond
On the 25th of September, an archaeological dig was conducted near the Old Gym. The purpose of the dig was to survey the ground near a potential construction project. Given the nature of a construction project it was deemed imperative to search for and preserve anything of significant anthropological value ranging from; tools, bones, pottery, gravesites etc.
The Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year program has its very roots centered on culture. Candidates from all over the country are joined together to become accomplished members of the Canadian Armed Forces, in addition these candidates are meant to learn about their identity as Aboriginal people. Naturally, the archaeological dig proved to be an excellent way for ALOY to learn about their ancestors. “It sounded like a very unique experience, I found the idea of learning about our way of life during that period in time interesting.” said OCdt Hanna Mantla when asked about the prospect of joining a dig.
Under the heat of the sun, ALOY and the group of archaeologists toiled through the dirt in search of any significant artifacts. Among their findings, the dig unveiled several flakes, arrowheads, and nails but the really significant discovery was a remnant of a clay pot. This piece of pot was discovered by an ALOY candidate and was judged to be around 1500 years old. When asked about the anthropological significance of conducting the dig OCdt Taylor Strickland said “I found it cultural in that they were studying our aboriginal history, it was neat, very interesting.”
The College is currently in a state of renovation, there are many things on campus that need to be repaired or upgraded. In order to do so, these archaeological digs must be done to prevent any disturbance to significant cultural grounds. When asked about the potential to join another dig, OCdt Eric Bristow said “I really enjoyed our time with the archaeologists, it was an eye-opening experience as we managed to dig up some artifacts that were said to be around 1500 years old. If the opportunity presented itself again in my lifetime, I would gladly do it again.”
ALOY Goes to the Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre
Written By OCdt Johnston
On the 26th of September ALOY squadron visited CFB Trenton to participate in a day of high flying activities. We left Fort Brant early in the early morning and hit the road on the way to Trenton. I can speak for the squadron that we were all excited and a little scared for the events that awaited us at the base. When we arrived at the base we were all amazed to see all the giant planes and equipment laid out across the base. There was numerous large Hercules planes scattered out across the run way ready to take flight. On the other side of the base there was search and rescue helicopters fueled up and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
We arrived at the hangar that we would be training at for the day and met the staff from the Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre (CAAWC) that would be briefing us on the day`s activities. We started our day at the rock climbing walls. We learned how to climb and how to be a belay man. Then we started to climb. There were walls of different difficulty, and we tried them all with varying degrees of success. It was a good workout and we all felt it in our forearms and back.
After our experience on the climbing walls we were then briefed on what would happen when we went to the parachute mock tower. We were told that is was a 32 foot tall tower. It was explained to us that this height was the optimal height to overcome fear of heights, and that if you could jump from this tower you could jump from a plane. We were fitted with harnesses that were not comfortable or stylish and by twos we walked up the steps to the top. At the top of the tower the instructors strapped the ropes into the harness and you were at your own free will to jump. The first jump was the hardest, because when you jump out of the tower you freefall for about 6 feet until the harness catches you. Nevertheless with some cursing and yelling everyone jumped.
Our next event of the day was rappelling down a 32 foot and then a 65 foot tall tower. Many in our group considered this easier than the tower, but it still put the fear in most of us. We started easy with the 32 foot tower. They taught us how to hold the rope and how to lean over the edge. After the descent over the edge rappelling was easy. It was just a slow fall. After everybody’s first time we all raced up the tower to try it over again. Sadly our time was limited and we had to call it a day, but not without some great experiences to bring back to RMCC. With that we boarded the bus and headed back to Kingston having our fears of heights and of the unknown conquered.
ALOY Sweat Lodge
Written by OCdt Strickland
On October 8th, 2014 the Officer Cadets and staff of the ALOY program participated in a sweat lodge ceremony hosted by Elder Bernard Nelson and his wife Tammy Nelson at their home. The main purpose of doing this was for the ALOY Officer Cadets to benefit from a cultural experience.
The cultural significance of the sweat lodge within native culture was brought into practice due to the negative impact European culture had on Aboriginal Peoples’ way of life. By introducing alcohol, as well as mentally and physically abusing; them there needed to be a solution to solve this problem. The sweat lodge was the answer. The cleansing of toxins from the body and being brought into a clearheaded state of mind caused by the sweat lodge led aboriginals back to their traditional ways.
The sweat lodge is made of sticks that are webbed together in an ellipses shape covered by blankets, carpet, and plastic in order to keep the heat and moisture within. The entrance to the sweat lodge and the sacred fire pit faces to the east. When entering into the lodge women go in first and then the men follow after. Men and women are not allowed to sit with each other and have to be on the opposite sides of the lodge. Once everyone is inside, glowing hot rocks are placed in the center in the fire pit and water is splashed on at the beginning of each round to create steam. There are four rounds, and each round is dedicated to certain members of your family. The first round is to the women in your family like your grandmother and mother, the second is dedicated to the men in your family like your father and grandfather, and the third is devoted to yourself and the various stages of your life, and the fourth and final round is to your spiritual belief. After the ceremony was completed I asked some of the officer cadets what they had thought of experiencing their first sweat lodge. Officer Cadet Bressette then replied, “It was really hot and sweaty. It was mentally tough sitting through all four rounds.” I then asked one of the female officer cadets what they had thought. “It was fun, personally I felt like it was physically and mentally cleansing, and my mind was at peace.” Overall this was a great experience for the ALOY cadets and staff, and if you want a challenge I would recommend you give it a try.
ALOY Attends the C and D Division First Year Mess Dinner
Written By OCdt Rudderham
The First Year C and D Divisions Cadet Mess Dinner took place on October 15th, 2014 in the Senior Staff Mess. Cadets and staff that attended had the opportunity to enjoy a 4-course meal in the well-appointed building. Numerous officers were present along with the Director of Cadets, Lieutenant Colonel Popov. ALOY Cadets had to be dressed immaculately in our DEU’s for this special occasion. The cadets were expected at the mess for 18:00 for a pre-gathering chat and to mingle with fellow cadets. Officers arrived between 18:30-19:00, OCdt Rudderham had the privilege of hosting WO Attrux for the evening. The rest of ALOY, along with the rest of the First Years were dispersed among the various tables to ensure that cadets got to know people outside of their respective flights. Piping and speeches were then performed by both male and female fourth years to start off the dinner. After the last course a number of toasts were made and regimental marches were performed by the band.
The night highlighted the unity here at RMC. After clearing the dining room, the night’s activities continued in the lounge where the First Year cadets had put on skits for entertainment. Many of the humorous skits involved the mocking of FYOP, the cadets had tears of laughter when re-enacting their most challenging times at the college. The ALOY squadron skits consisted of drumming and singing along side of their Elder Bernard Nelson. ALOY had picked this performance due to its traditional value to the members of ALOY. The drum is a sacred instrument to aboriginals all across Canada. The drumming is the exact same rhythm as a heartbeat; it reminds us that we are still here on earth. OCdts Simba, Strickland, Guimond, Johnston, Bressette, Gornall, Roberts, and Touchette did an exceptional job drumming. Receiving compliments from officers and non-commissioned officers, WO Attrux praised the men and women with “The best drumming I heard yet, the pitch was perfectly clear”. “The night was so fun, I really liked hanging out with the other cadets and learning about all the different traditions today here at RMC’ said OCdt Bomberry. ALOY Cadets were dismissed early when LCol Popov granted permission to escort the drum away, as traditionally it should not be around alcohol. Overall, it was a very sophisticated and enjoyable night for both cadets and officers, and we feel privileged for having experienced it.
ALOY Parades at the Ohsweken Aboriginal Veterans Day Parade
Written by OCdt Bomberry
The ALOY (Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year) program travelled to Six Nations reservation on October 19th, 2014 to attend the annual Veterans Day parade. Six Nations is approximately four hours south-west of Kingston, Ontario along the Grand River. The ALOY cadets were invited by the Six Nations community to march in the parade alongside many Aboriginal veterans, and current Canadian Forces members. This marks the ALOY program’s third year attending the Veterans Day parade. The weather was great for the parade with clear skies and reasonable temperatures. The event was memorable because of the veterans that attended as well as the flyover of four retired air force beaver planes. The Veterans Day parade is significant to remembrance day in Canada, as many past and present members of the Canadian Forces gathered together to remember those who have fallen while in service to Canada. The ALOY cadets felt pride throughout the parade but especially when the artillery gun went off following the moment of silence.
It was an honour for ALOY to not only march with such extraordinary veterans of the Six Nations community, but to also have been given the chance to escort such individuals to help lay wreathes on the cenotaph. Members of the ALOY program were asked what their thoughts of the Veterans Day parade were following the event, with one comment being “I felt proud to be a part of the parade, it was exciting to explore new places in Ontario and enjoy a great event” (OCdt Minoza). ALOY was welcomed in the community by all members of Six Nations and presented with a plaque for attending the parade.
ALOY Cadets and Staff, along with other CAF members who attended the Veterans Day Parade stand at a monument in Ohsweken, Ontario.
Recent OUA Results:
Fri, Nov 7, 2014 UOIT 5 at RMC 0 Box Score
Sat, Nov 8, RMC 4 at Queen’s 14 Box Score
Fri, Nov 7 RMC 0 at Queen’s 3 Box Score
Sat, 8 Nov Ottawa 3 at RMC 0 Box Score
Fri, Nov 14, 2014 7:00 pm RMC at York
Sat, Nov 15, 2014 7:15 pm RMC at Brock
Sat. 15 Nov Waterloo at RMC 1:00 PM
Sun. 16 Nov Guelph at RMC 1:00 PM
Friday 21 Nov Brock RMC 7:00 PM
Sat 22 Nov Lakehead RMC 3:00 PM
RMC Waterborne event features wet fun for United Way
“I do four weeks with the cadets and they do different set ups in the pool, but they dress in combat pants and combat T-shirts,” Breauvart said. “It’s all about teamwork, helping each other going over obstacles.”
Bert Breauvart, athletics co-ordinator for RMC – Article