News Release Article from  National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

Minister Sajjan Meets with Indigenous Leaders and Experts as Part of Defence Policy Review

September 14, 2016 – Winnipeg – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan today participated in an informative discussion with Indigenous leaders and groups from across the country to gain their perspective on Canada’s Defence Policy Review.

The meeting, which took place on Treaty 1 traditional territory in Winnipeg, started with a pipe and smudge ceremony held by Mr. Marcel Hardisty, a keeper of traditions and ceremonies from Wanipigow First Nation.

Participants included representatives from Indigenous organizations as well as academics and stakeholders from non-governmental organizations.

As part of the Defence Policy Review, Minister Sajjan has been meeting with a range of groups to discuss the main challenges to Canada’s security, the role of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in addressing the threats and challenges the country faces in the years ahead, and the resources and capabilities needed to carry out the CAF mandate. Additionally, the Department of National Defence held online consultations with Canadians from across the country between April 6 and July 31, 2016. The information gathered during these meetings and consultations will help inform a new defence policy for Canada to be published in early 2017.


“Indigenous voices bring an important perspective to policy development. Today’s meeting on the future of Canadian defence is an essential first step to ensure that Indigenous voices are heard. I welcome the valuable insight provided by those who attended today’s meeting, thank them for their participation, and look forward to ongoing conversations as part of our nation-to-nation relationship.”

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan

Quick Facts

  • The Defence Policy Review will help set the future direction and priorities for the Department of National Defence and help ensure the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is equipped, trained, and prepared to confront new threats and challenges in the years ahead.
  • In addition to the discussion with Indigenous leaders and stakeholders, DND hosted eight roundtable meetings across Canada, received approximately 20,200 submissions from Canadians via the Defence Policy Review online consultation portal, and over 4,700 participants contributed comments and votes using the online discussion forum. DND is currently reviewing these contributions in order to help inform the development of Canada’s new policy on defence.
  • The CAF values the contributions that First Nations, Inuit and Métis people have made to Canada and its military. The CAF continues to build on its relationship with Indigenous communities and their leaders.
  • There are approximately 2300 Indigenous members currently serving in the CAF Regular Force and Primary Reserve Force combined, representing over 2.5 per cent of CAF personnel.

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Related Product

Backgrounder: Aboriginal Peoples in the Canadian Armed Forces

Associated Links


Jordan Owens
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-2353
Toll-Free: 1-866-377-0811

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