For Immediate Release

May 20, 2016


Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation, Treaty 6 – The Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation is poised to launch a military co-op program in partnership with the 38th Canadian Brigade Group of the Canadian Forces.

Our community has a significant military past and a strong, proud history with the Canadian Armed Forces” explains Councillor Kevin Seesequasis, himself a retired military Captain. “So many of our honoured warriors are veterans of the Canadian Forces; so many community members have answered the call to both the Regular Force and the Primary Reserve; and so many of our youth were once involved with the Cadet program. There is a history of service in our Nation and bringing the military here is a logical next step.

The co-op program will see up to 25 interested youth gain employment, enroll with the Canadian Armed Forces, and undergo training with the North Saskatchewan Regiment and the Service Battalion – Primary Reserve units in Saskatoon and Prince Albert, SK.

Our Regiment has benefited greatly in the past and into the present from participation by Indigenous peoples of Canada” says Lieutenant Colonel Tony Engelberts, Commanding Officer of the North Saskatchewan Regiment. “Through this partnership, we will increase enrollment in current programs and with community support, set the conditions for Beardy’s & Okemasis youth to succeed in Canada’s Army Reserve. We can learn a lot from each other and together we can build a culture of mutual respect, pride and success.  Strong. Proud. Ready.

The partnership, initiated by another former service member, Sheldon Couillonneur, was a graduate of the Bold Eagle program and is the principal of the Constable Robin Cameron Education Complex (CRCEC). To him, the initiative is more than just a job for our youth. “The co-op program will provide youth of the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation aged 16-19 with an opportunity to develop leadership skills and self-confidence, participate in Canadian Armed Forces training and achieve things they didn’t think they could. I’m looking forward to two very important days with the co-op program: 1) the first day of training; and 2) the graduation parade.

This is an historic occasion for First Nations in Canada. We’re the 1st First Nation to enter into this type of arrangement with the Canadian Armed Forces; but it’s all that much more significant because of the cross-cultural relationships and understanding we’re building. Reconciliation is about education and if this can be an example in building bridges between Indigenous peoples and Canadians, then we’re doing something good.” concluded Seesequasis.

A community advisory group comprised of local veterans, parents of interested applicants, and leadership will be established to assist with the development of and oversight of the project. A community Town Hall will occur in the next few weeks to inform community members about the initiative.

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For more information, please contact:

Chief & Council Communications

The North Saskatchewan Regiment Public Affairs

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