Subhash Sutradhar plays the drums. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Captain Dustin Lebel (right) was given the great honour of carrying the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces Eagle Staff, a powerful symbol of unity among Aboriginal women and men in the DND and CAF, past and present. Standing with Capt Lebel is Corporal Joseph Ogle. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Theresa Prince and Theresa Chapeskie demonstrate Kashubian embroidery. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Sosun Stephanie Suh (Won) played the haegeum, a Korean string instrument that is often compared to the violin. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Captain Jacinthe Smith (left) creates a beaded bracelet with Jayden Kohoko’s help. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Garrison Petawawa Formation Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Bill Richards (left), Town of Petawawa Chief Administrative Officer Dan Scissons and Deputy Mayor Tom Mohns, Petawawa Heritage Museum President Ann McIntyre are intrigued by an old rifle (right), showcases similar tools that pioneers would have used. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
To thank her for being the Garrison Petawawa Cultural and Diversity Festival’s keynote speaker on March 8, Garrison Petawawa Commander Colonel Mark Misener (right) accompanied by Garrison Petawawa Chief Warrant Officer CWO Bill Richards (left) presented Canadian Army Chief of Staff Brigadier General Jennie Carignan (centre) with a special plaque. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Though the Pontiac is technically in another province, it is a still part of the Ottawa Valley. Alicia Jones and Louis Lar were happy to answer any questions about the area. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Panzer is a service dog from Watch My Six, accompanied by Sergeant Brad Waterfall. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Corporal Marianna Soutouguina-Graham survived a very rare heart condition called Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. Despite her near death experience, she has returned to the Armed Forces. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans and First Responders have used the War Horse Project with injuries such as PTSD to heal from their trauma. Executive Director Alison Vandergragt explained the therapeutic benefits of horses. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Garrison holds 2nd annual Cultural and Diversity Festival
By: Patricia Leboeuf
Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2017
The differences between individuals was celebrated at the second annual Garrison Petawawa Cultural and Diversity Festival.
Visitors were invited to join in the activities, view the cultural demonstrations and learn more on the history of the area and the background of the people who live within it, from the lives of First Nations people thousands of years ago, to the settlers who forged the wilderness, to the soldiers who call Petawawa home. “It is a great learning opportunity,” said Garrison Petawawa Commander Colonel Mark Misener. “It is about learning what cultures are around you and … it makes you more aware as a person and it strengthens us as a team,” he added.
As he believes experience is the best teacher, Col Misener encouraged attendees to ask questions and enjoy as much as they could of the March 8 event. He also highlighted the fact that it was International Woman’s Day, which celebrates the global achievements and contributions of women.
One such woman is undoubtedly Brigadier General Jennie Carignan, Canadian Army Chief of Staff. She was the keynote speaker at the event, and had much to say about diversity within the Canadian Armed Forces and throughout the world. “It is clear to me that diversity in all domains of society has contributed wealth to our homeland,” she said.
She noted countries where men and women of diverse backgrounds share and contribute equally have more prosperity and stability. Equality is not a zero-sum game where one person loses because another has access to the same opportunities.
“To make a move for one is not about making the other disappear,” she said. “On the contrary, it is all about putting our forces together to contribute to make a better world for our children. We need everybody’s help to be able to do that.”
As she looks back on her journey in the Canadian Armed Forces, she realizes it was not an easy one. But it was nonetheless exciting. “I always feel awkward when my colleagues tell me that when they were little boys they dreamed of being a soldier,” said BGen Carignan. “I never had such a dream. That path simply didn’t exist for little girls. But it does now.”
The three biggest obstacles she encountered were the beliefs that girls couldn’t fight, that girls weren’t strong and that mothers cannot be soldiers. “These obstacles are constantly thrown in the faces of women and are strictly based in emotionalism and unsophisticated arguments rather than critical assessments of the facts,” she said.
BGen Carignan admits that accepting diversity can be difficult for some. It requires people to look beyond their first assumptions and fight against their innate prejudices, but it ultimately creates a richer world.
Col Misener has seen the benefits firsthand. “A more diverse team provides better solutions to tough problems and I’m going to be honest, it creates a better working environment,” he said.
The event was organized by Garrison Petawawa Diversity and Employment Equity Advisory Group (PDEEAG), and held inside Dundonald Hall. The group examines issues relating to women, visible minorities, Aboriginal Peoples and persons with disabilities. It provides direction, suggestions, guidance and advice to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces on these issues and how to move forward to employment equity.
“What we want to do is build on the momentum we have created here and continue to reinforce diversity in different cultures in any way we can,” said Col Misener.