Commissioner Ann Meekitjuk Hanson – Visits RMCC

Commissioner of Nunavut Pays a Short Visit to RMCC

By: Major Robert Parent

On 17 Feb 10, the Honourable Ann Meekitjuk Hanson, Commissioner of Nunavut and Vice Regal representative paid a visit to RMCC. While her desire was to visit and speak directly to our Inuit student, OCdt Sudlovenick she was very interested in the ALOY programme and the experiences of all ALOY cadets as well as RMCC as a whole.

ALOY and RMCC cadets provided a Quarter Guard to welcome her to the college followed by a short briefing on the program. The Commissioner was escorted around the college lines where she inspected the ALOY rooms, attended an academic class and was then escorted around the campus including the gym facilities. Her final activity was lunch with cadets in the CDH.

Overall her impression of ALOY and RMCC was very good and she takes back, with her a true first hand look at the program and what it offers to her peoples. She stressed that there has always been a reserved approach towards the military and Inuit people based upon perceptions that often attach themselves to all military forces. However, she saw the extremely positive experience afforded the ALOY & RMC cadets here on the peninsula and what is being offered within the CF as a whole.

The visit of the Commissioner of Nunavut to ALOY is likely the first time ever that a senior representative from the north has visited the college. The visit left her with a lasting impression of the positive aspects of the ALOY Program and military life in general.  More

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All Slide Photos Taken by OCdt Matt Telfser

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Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux draws deeply from her teaching experience and her work with Aboriginal youth to demonstrate that change is entirely possible and achievable. She tells the story of a recent experience while teaching a course in Aboriginal Studies to members of the Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Program (ALOY) at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario.

As the group of young people wandered into the classroom on the first day, one of them remarked, “What are you going to teach us? How to be Indians?” Undaunted, and certainly well acquainted with this type of skepticism amongst young Aboriginal people, Wesley-Esquimaux carried on to teach them about the many contributions of their Aboriginal ancestors, from military history to the country’s educational and political systems.

She also reinforced for them the amazing resilience of native people who continue to persevere after 90 per cent of their ancestral population was wiped out by epide mic diseases and warfare in arelatively short period of 100 years.”By the end of the year, I had the most resistant student in that class come to me and tell me he’s enrolled in the University of Alberta and he’s going to take Native Studies,” she says.

Professor Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux is an Assistant Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. She is a graduate of Social Cultural Anthropology from the University of Toronto. Her doctoral research looked at the effects of acculturation and outside intervention, most specifically on youth suicide, in a remote Oji-Cree community in Northern Ontario. She is the Nexen Chair in Aboriginal Research at The Banff Centre.