Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

Program Name/Specialization

Individuals, Families, and Groups


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Professor Malcolm Saulis

Advisor Role

Elder, cultural mentor, qualitative research advisor

Second Advisor

Professor Eliana Suarez

Advisor Role

Mentor, quantitative research advisor


The purpose of this study is to better understand the wholistic meaning that the Canadian Armed Forces embody for graduates of Black Bear Aboriginal Summer Training Program and the factors involved in the graduates’ decision to join the CAF after graduating Black Bear. This was done using an Indigenous Four Directions framework supported by a mixed methods cross-sectional online survey. Out of respect for the cultures involved, Elders and Cultural Advisors were consulted throughout all stages of the process. The findings suggest that perceptions formed within the Spiritual Direction are important indicators of CAF membership. Wholistically, the CAF maintains a complex image among the respondents with elements of reported discrimination, identity loss, spirituality, and further training needed for CAF members, hindering the path to a wholistically positive relationship. Although the results are not conclusive, they suggest opportunities for further research and organizational learning in the aforementioned areas.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Social Work Commons