Community leaders, Inuvik Canadian Rangers, and members of the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group attended the opening ceremony for the Inuvik Junior Canadian Ranger (JCR) patrol Saturday, Feb. 24.
Twenty-five new JCRs will be part of the new Inuvik patrol, which is the 44th JCR patrol in the North.
Gwich’in Tribal Council grand chief Bobbie Jo Greenland-Morgan also addressed the new JCRs and said the program is a good way for youth to learn life skills, Ranger skills and share knowledge between armed forces and Indigenous people.
“It’s also helping to strengthen traditional and cultural skills. In this wonderful country of Canada that we live in, as Indigenous people, we have always had something to offer,” Greenland-Morgan said. “In this program, I think the Indigenous people of the North are also helping armed forces learn about the survival skills and what it takes to live up here in the North. It’s a give and take.”
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) chair Duane Smith also addressed the new JCRs at the ceremony, saying that the IRC is very supportive of the JCR initiative.
Smith said the Arctic is a special area where JCRs have a unique opportunity to collaborate and create international ties with Alaskan and Norwegian junior rangers.
Lt.-Col. Luis Carvallo of 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group spoke to the crowd and stressed the importance of the support from Inuvik’s community leaders for the JCR program.
“We cannot forget that for this program to succeed … the support of the community and the leaders of the community are important for JCR success,” Carvallo said.
He added that the JCR program is not a recruitment program.
“We’re not here to make you future soldiers,” Carvallo said. “What we’re here to do is help you in your transition to adulthood, and give you a challenging new program, and teach you interesting new skills.”
Carvallo said the JCR program is important because it complements what communities are already trying to do with other youth programs.
“Instilling a lot of traditional skills and values, sharing knowledge about the ecology and the environment,” Carvallo said. “We are just one of the elements that can help speed up the process of reintroducing those skill sets back into the communities, which is why it’s important for community leaders to buy into the program.”
Brianna Gruben, one of the JCRs, said she’s really excited about participating in the program.
“I’m excited to be travelling all over on the land and learning life skills,” Gruben said. “Anywhere would be fun to go with the Rangers.”