Indigenous Awareness Week an opportunity to “open and learn”

By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario — The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are once again marking Indigenous Awareness Week (IAW) and the 2020 edition arrives along with a milestone: the 25th anniversary of the CAF’s Defence Aboriginal Advisory Group (DAAG).

DAAG is a national body, and part of a wider network of advisory groups at the local and regional levels, offering guidance to CAF leadership on matters relating to Indigenous members, civilian and military. Each group has military and civilian co-chairs who volunteer their time along with members-at-large.

The Canadian Army Commander, Lieutenant General Wayne Eyre, also holds the title of Defence Team Champion for Indigenous Peoples.

Though events to mark this year’s IAW (which takes place May 15-22) will be small-scale and virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DAAG national co-chairs are urging all of their colleagues, and all Canadians, to make time to increase their knowledge of Indigenous Peoples.

Civilian Co-Chair Lisa deWit, from Wet’suwet’en First Nation in British Columbia, joined the National DAAG in 2018. Including her time as a member of the local DAAG at Canadian Force Base Esquimalt in British Columbia, she has been involved in CAF Indigenous matters for nearly 10 years.

“Over the last nine years I have seen growth in a willingness to understand our cultures, our ways of knowledge and how Indigenous people hold constitutionally protected rights and title,” she said. “The…

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