Junior Canadian Ranger wins youth award
By Sergeant Peter Moon, 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group
Nova Gull, a 17-year-old Junior Canadian Ranger from the Cree community of Peawanuck near Hudson Bay, has been awarded the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Youth Award. NAN represents 49 First Nations across the Far North of Ontario.
“I think it’s important that we encourage our youth in preserving their culture. She has done that and I can see that she has benefited from the Junior Canadian Ranger program,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of NAN as he presented the award.
The citation for her Youth Award from NAN said she received it “in honour of your aspirations and commitment to carry on your traditional culture and teachings. The people of Nishnawbe Aski Nation acknowledge your achievements in providing leadership among our young people.”
Nova has been a Junior Ranger since she was 12, the youngest age eligible for the Canadian Army’s Junior Canadian Rangers program. She received the James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Writing Award last December for a poem she had written. In February, she won praise for volunteering during a Canadian Ranger training exercise, when she gave up her seat on a flight so that a Canadian Ranger could tend to an emergency, and drove the Ranger’s snowmobile and sled back for an arduous 300-kilometre trip.
Nova said the Junior Ranger program has helped her develop her leadership skills and confidence. She is attending high school in Timmins, and wants to pursue a career that will allow her to help others. “I’m interested in maybe becoming a paramedic or a counselor of some kind,” she said.
Her father, Matthew Gull, is the Canadian Ranger Sergeant commanding the Ranger patrol in Peawanuck. “I am extremely proud of her,” said Catherine Gull, her mother, “and she is proud of her culture.”