Ever wonder how the coldest, most northern parts of our country are safeguarded? Located in 200 remote, isolated and coastal communities across the country, Canadian Rangers are the military’s eyes and ears in the north. Their motto is Vigilans, which means “The Watchers.”

Canadian Rangers have been around since 1942, when they were known as the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers and protected the coast of British Columbia from possible Japanese invasion.

Today they are part-time reservists who provide local assistance to search and rescue activities and offer support in moments of crisis, like during natural or man-made disasters and humanitarian operations. For example, they’ve helped with the avalanche at Kangiqsualujjuaq in northern Québec and the drinking water crisis in Kashechewan, Ontario.

As part of the Canadian Armed Forces, Rangers have an important role in protecting national sovereignty. They conduct North Warning Site patrols, report suspicious and unusual activities, and collect local data of military significance.

National Aboriginal Day and National Aboriginal History Month are perfect opportunities to learn more about Indigenous people’s contributions to Canada. Many Canadian Rangers are Indigenous peoples, which include three distinct groups: First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Many of today’s Rangers are part of a long history of Indigenous peoples making significant contributions to our military, including during both world wars as well as on peace keeping missions.

Rangers support and participate in many events in their local communities, like Remembrance Day, National Aboriginal Day which takes place June 21st, and Canada Day. They’re also positive role models and educators in the Junior Canadian Rangers, a program that works with youth in isolated areas to improve their quality of life. For more information about the Canadian Rangers, visit www.forces.gc.ca.

Find more information about National Aboriginal Day visit www.nad.gc.ca.