Kids, skidoos and caribou: The Junior Canadian Ranger program as a model for re-engaging Indigenous Australian youth in remote areas

Author/editor: Schwab, RG
Year published: 2006
Issue no.: 281


The social and educational disengagement of Indigenous youth, who see education and training as irrelevant to their lives and experiences, is a looming crisis for many Indigenous communities in remote Australia. This paper is an exploration of a youth program in Canada, the Junior Canadian Rangers (JCRs), that addresses a similar crisis in that country. The Canadian program is of national importance to Canada in the context of not only community stability and capacity development but also border security, marine management in coastal areas and in search and rescue services. While Australia has an Defence Force Cadet program that operates in a limited number of Indigenous communities, it is a more traditional and much smaller cadet program. This paper suggests there is value in adapting some of the components of the Canadian program in Australia.

The paper begins with an analysis of the educational disengagement of young Indigenous people in remote Australia. Then, as background for a description of the JCR program, the paper provides a brief comparison of Australia and Canada, outlining a few of the cultural, historical and geographic similarities. The paper goes on to provide a detailed overview of the JCR program, its aims, history, structure and pedagogical underpinnings. The paper closes with some discussion of the value of the program for Canada, the potential value of some version of the program or its elements for Australia and some insights for Australia from the Canadian experience.

ISBN: 0 7315 5656 9

ISSN:1036 1774

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