Naujaat – Thirteen Nunavut cadets, including seven from Naujaat and three from Rankin Inlet, completed their silver star training at Birds Hill Provincial Park outside of Winnipeg earlier this month.

The cadets learned about navigation, map, compass and GPS while hiking 12 to 17 kilometres.

Naujaat Capt. Lloyd Francis said the cadets had a great time during their training.

He said he had two of his Naujaat cadets in his group, which completed a 16.5 km hike in about five hours.

“The other groups did between 12 and 15 kilometres, so the cadets did a lot of hiking,” Francis said.

“We were planning to do some canoeing, but the lake there was too dried up to accommodate that.

“However, my cadets will get to canoe when we go to the gold star expedition this coming fall.

“It was a really great trip and I was really proud of the showing by our cadets, and I was impressed by their endurance while hiking.”

Francis said the cadets spent an extra day in Winnipeg, so they used the time to tour the city, do a little bowling and take in a movie.

He said the extra day was actually a big treat for the group, with one of the Naujaat cadets being on their first trip outside of Nunavut and two others enjoying their first time at a real movie theatre.

“It was nice for them to get to experience that just before our final parade of the season this week.

“We also have the B.C. cadets coming up this week to complete the second half of our exchange program.”

Francis said since the Naujaat corps is army cadets, they focus more on the army side of the Canadian Forces with their training.

He said outside survival and land skills are big parts of the cadet program.

“That’s one reason why cadets really work in Naujaat, because land skills are also a big part of Inuit culture, so there’s a lot of links between Inuit culture and the cadet program.

“When we go down for these (silver star and gold star) expeditions at the beginning of their fourth year, they’re mandatory expeditions that they have to take part in to graduate from the cadet program.

“The expeditions are pass and fail, but, basically, as long as they complete everything and give their best at learning the skills, they’re going to pass.

“The expeditions are definitely something our cadets look forward to because as long as they come to cadets regularly, they know they get to go on these trips because they’re mandatory and, for the ones on their first trip outside of Nunavut, it’s good for them to have that experience, travel a little bit and see a little more of our country.”

The seven Naujaat cadets to attend the silver star training were Cpl. Beatrice Kaunak, Cpl. Kurt Ignerdjuk, Cpl. Jonah Allianaq, Cpl. Ernie Inaksajak, Master Cpl. Lou Kopak, Master Cpl. Ron Sivanertok and Master Cpl. Anderson Putulik

Darrell Greer

Darrell Greer is Editor of Kivalliq News