‘Canadian Rangers: Community, Autonomy, and Sovereignty’

Samantha Stevens

Carleton University



Journal of Australian, Canadian, and Aotearoa New Zealand Studies 1, issue 2 (December 2021): 8-40, https://doi.org/10.52230/LMIU1341


Indigenous members of the Canadian Forces (CF) are an integral part of the organization, working and fighting alongside their non-Indigenous colleagues all over the world. As a non-combative sub-set of the CF, however, the Canadian Rangers are a unique branch of the Reserves that are without compare. Functioning primarily for their communities, the Rangers represent the potential for the CF to effectively work with Indigenous communities and culture, while maintaining CF operational objectives in the Arctic. This article explores how the Rangers balance the sovereignty of their communities with the aims of the CF by integrating Indigenous cultures, language, and ways of knowing into their operational and capabilities, while remaining semi-autonomous from the CF culture and hierarchy. This article concludes that while the Rangers are an example of the potential for Indigenous and Canadian partnerships, there is also an alarming disparity and inequitable access to secure full-time employment and healthcare. Moreover, Rangers face many of the same issues as those in the communities they strive to serve. Therefore, this article argues that if Canada is serious about reconciliation and creating more opportunities for Indigenous persons in the Arctic, then part of that aim should also include providing the Rangers with the same support other areas of the CF are privileged to receive.


Canadian Rangers, Canadian Forces, Indigenous, Inuit, sovereignty