As announced in a news release and a public tweet by Canadian Lt. General Jean-Marc Lanthier who tweeted: “the first permanent Indigenous Spiritual Lodge in the history of the @CanadianForces was inaugurated at the Saint-Jean Garrison. This marks an important milestone for all members of the @CanadianArmy.”
According to the news release posted on the Government of Canada’s National Defence website on December 7th:
The Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS) today inaugurated the first permanent Canadian Armed Forces Indigenous Spiritual Lodge. Military dignitaries, chaplains, Elders, Indigenous veterans and a group of roughly 20 participants from the Canadian Forces Aboriginal Entry Program (CFAEP) attended the intimate ceremony.
The Indigenous Spiritual Lodge is a new addition to the existing spiritual facilities at the Saint‑Jean Garrison, including the chapel used for Catholic and Protestant religious services and the multi‑faith center used by members of other faith.
The CFAEP graduation ceremony took place in the rotunda of the General J.‑V. Allard Building immediately following the inauguration. The three-week CFAEP gives interested Indigenous candidates an opportunity to explore various military careers before joining the CAF. Approximately 20 participants graduated in this cohort.
A photo of a soldier with an eagle staff taken by Canadian Lt. General Jean-Marc Lanthier who tweeted: “the first permanent Indigenous Spiritual Lodge in the history of the @CanadianForces was inaugurated at the Saint-Jean Garrison. This marks an important milestone for all members of the @CanadianArmy.” Twitter
The website’s release also included quotes from Brigadier‑General Jennie Carignan, Commander, 2nd Canadian Division and Lieutenant-Commander Martin Poëti, Chaplain, Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School.
“The courage, sacrifices, and achievements of Indigenous CAF members are a source of pride and inspiration for us all. Our shared goals and sacrifices on the battlefield have created powerful ties between us as brothers and sisters in arms. Together we are stronger, more resilient and better positioned to train versatile, battle-ready soldiers prepared to deal with an increasingly complex world,” said Brigadier‑General Carignan in the release.
“This is a very proud day for the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service. After several months of intense teamwork, we are happy to be inaugurating the first permanent Indigenous Spiritual Lodge in the history of the Canadian Armed Forces. The Saint-Jean Garrison now has a chapel for Catholics and Protestants, a multi-faith center for Jews and Muslims, and a Place for Peace—an Indigenous Spiritual Lodge. Although the spiritual lodge is open to everyone regardless of spiritual, religious or philosophical affiliation, it is designed and built to meet the needs of Indigenous military personnel who wish to celebrate their ancestral practices and rich spiritual heritage. We are proud of this remarkable initiative implemented by the Saint‑Jean Garrison with determination and in a spirit of inclusion,” said Lieutenant-Commander Martin Poëti in the release.
A photo of a wolf statue outside of the spiritual lodge taken by Canadian Lt. General Jean-Marc Lanthier who tweeted: “the first permanent Indigenous Spiritual Lodge in the history of the @CanadianForces was inaugurated at the Saint-Jean Garrison. This marks an important milestone for all members of the @CanadianArmy.” Twitter
The website also listed a series of facts in relation to the lodge as follows:
- The Canadian Armed Forces look after the religious, spiritual and moral well-being of their military personnel. To support its Indigenous members, the CAF has developed support mechanisms through the Chaplaincy Service to ensure that serving Indigenous members have access to the support of Elders, traditional medicine and safe places to hold culturally important ceremonies.
- Since 2014, the CFLRS has welcomed close to 200 participants to the CFAEP. Upon completion of the CFAEP, participants may apply to join the Regular Force and start basic training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School.
- During the three-week course, participants experience military life first-hand as they study military organization and rank structure, undergo weapons training and military drills and participate in a physical fitness routine. Participants selected for the CFAEP take part in the program as civilians, with no obligation to join the CAF.
- Under the Military Personnel Command, the CFLRS is part of the Military Personnel Generation Training Group (MPGTG), which is responsible for training CAF members. Both organizations are part of Military Personnel Generation (MPG), which has a mandate that spans the personnel generation activities of the CAF, from military personnel generation requirements and recruiting through to basic training and common support trade schools.
- CFLRS conducts basic training in both official languages for officers and non-commissioned members joining the Regular Force component.
- Each year, more than 5,000 Canadians begin their military career at CFLRS.
For more information about CFLRS, visit
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