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. Funding for the program was provided by the Saskatchewan Militia District.
In 1990, following the Oka Crisis, senior members of the RCMP, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (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 agreed to provide Elders for this purpose.
Over the next ten year the program was expanded to include Manitoba First Nations youth, then Alberta, British Columbia, and finally, North-western Ontario. The number of participants grew from fifteen in 1989, to approximately 100 by 2000.
To read more about the Bold Eagle Program, or to download application guidelines and forms, please go to www.army.forces.gc.ca/boldeagle.