Bold Eagle History
The goals and objectives of the joint Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and Department of National Defense Bold Eagle program are to provide First Nation and Aboriginal youth with an opportunity for meaningful summer employment, exposure to cultural and traditional activities, and an adequate level of training to prepare them for careers within the Canadian Forces, law enforcement, industry, the pursuit of obtaining higher education and to obtain meaningful and consistent employment. The Program is open to First Nation and Aboriginal youth aged 16 to 29. Those under 18 years of age require parental consent. Participants must have a completed grade 10 or equivalent education, must be physically fit, and must not be currently in conflict with the law
Now in its 33rd year, the Bold Eagle program has been an unqualified success in meeting those goals and objectives. Bold Eagle’s increased demand and interest has expanded beyond the capacity of the original partnerships, and continued funding is required to meet the demand of all Aboriginal youth.
First Nations and Aboriginal peoples desperately need to build on their successes, and to continue to maintain and enhance those programs that have been proven to have had meaningful, positive and tangible impacts on the socio-economic conditions of Aboriginal people. Without a doubt, the Bold Eagle Program is one such program.
Bold Eagle Historical Background
The Bold Eagle Program began in Saskatchewan in 1989 as a local initiative between the Prince Albert Tribal Council (now the Prince Albert Grand Council) and the Canadian Armed Forces. That year, approximately fifteen First Nations youth were offered training in basic military skills over the course of the summer.
In 1990, senior members of the RCMP, the FSIN and the Canadian Forces Prairie Militia Area
(PMA) met to discuss ways in which to ensure a strong and cooperative relationship between First Nations people and the Canadian Forces. The Bold Eagle Program, only one year old, offered itself as an already established method of securing positive relations, and the decision was made to expand the concept to include all of Saskatchewan. In the summer of 1990, the FSIN agreed to fund a coordinator/recruiter and the costs of the training component were provided by the PMA. Also in that year, the Program was expanded to include not only the larger geographical area, but also a cultural component for both participants and military staff. The FSIN and the Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans’ Association (SFNVA) agreed to provide Elders for this purpose.
In 2000, the Canadian Forces expanded the program to include Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, and North-western Ontario First Nation youth. In 2005, the program was expanded to include all Aboriginal Youth. The number of participants has grown from fifteen in 1989, to 240 by 2019.