“Indigenous Communities are at the Heart of Canada’s North”: Media Misperceptions of the Canadian Rangers, Indigenous Service, and Arctic Security

  • P. Whitney Lackenbauer Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in the Study of the Canadian North and a Professor in the School for the Study of Canada at Trent University

Abstract

This article critically interrogates the assumptions and critiques levelled at the Canadian Rangers by two ardent media critics: Robert Smol and Scott Gilmore. Situating the Canadian Rangers in the Canadian Armed Forces’ Arctic Operational Picture, it argues that the Rangers are an appropriate and operationally valued component of a Canadian military posture designed to address Northern risks across the defence-security-safety mission spectrum. Rather than seeing the Rangers as a sideline to the “serious” military show that Smol and Gilmore would like to see play out in the North, their proven ability to operate in difficult and austere environmental conditions – often reflecting applied Indigenous knowledge of their homelands – and to maintain interoperability with mission partners to address practical security challenges is highly valuable. By serving as the “Eyes, Ears, and Voice” of the CAF in their communities, the Rangers embody federal approaches to collaboration and partnership predicated on ideas that Northerners are best placed to make decisions in areas that impact them.

Author Biography

P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in the Study of the Canadian North and a Professor in the School for the Study of Canada at Trent University

P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Ph.D., is the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in the Study of the Canadian North and a Professor in the School for the Study of Canada at Trent University, and co-director of the Centre on Foreign Policy and Federalism at St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo. He was the 2017-18 Killam Visiting Scholar at the University of Calgary in fall 2017, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Canadian Forces College in Toronto in winter/spring 2018. Whitney is Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, which encompasses patrols throughout Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. His recent books include Familiar Fields to Foreign Soil: Three Rural Townships and the Great War (co-authored 2018), China’s Arctic Ambitions and What They Mean for Canada (co-authored 2018), and Roots of Entanglement: Essays in Native-Newcomer Relations (co-edited 2017).

 

 

Published
2019-02-01
Section
Articles