Organizational Influence on Individual Perceptions: The social representations of the Aboriginal military in the Canadian Armed Forces


  • Sébastien Girard Lindsay University of Ottawa
  • Jean-François Savard École nationale d'administration publique


In the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report, the Canadian state is in the process of reaching out to Aboriginal communities. Public organizations must therefore be actively involved in integrating Aboriginal people into their communities so that they are representative of Canadian society as a whole. The question of the perceptions of Aboriginal employees becomes crucial because it may be a factor that facilitates or restricts the access of these people to public organizations. As such, Aboriginal people have a special, complex and rich relationship with the military. It seemed relevant for us to study the perception of the Canadian military with Aboriginal people. Using the theory of social representations, this research exposes the structure of these perceptions. We have discovered that the military perceives the army through the prism of excellence and legal authority. Thus, the perception scheme is not a priori an obstacle to the integration of Aboriginal people, but there are indeed prejudices and stereotypes on the periphery of the representational structure. These prejudices and stereotypes could constitute an obstacle to the effective integration of this population.

Author Biographies

Sébastien Girard Lindsay, University of Ottawa

Sébastien Girard Lindsay is a PhD student in public administration at the University of Ottawa. He holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from the École nationale d'administration publique (ENAP). His master's thesis, under the direction of Jean-François Savard, focused on the integration of Aboriginal people into the military, and in particular the perception of Aboriginal people in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Jean-François Savard, École nationale d'administration publique

Jean-François Savard holds a PhD in political science from Carleton University and has been a professor at ENAP (École nationale d'administration publique) since 2006, where he teaches analysis and the design and implementation of public policy. His research focuses on Aboriginal policy issues, with a particular focus on Aboriginal self-government, relations between Aboriginal communities and the public administrations of Quebec and Canada, and federalism. Dr. Savard has also led the development of credited graduate programs in public administration offered in Aboriginal communities, with the goal of fostering the autonomy of these communities.