An eagle staff is a unique, sacred symbol that represents traditional Indigenous culture and clans. It is used at ceremonies and celebratory functions, much like a nation's flag would be.
The RCMP's national eagle staff was first unveiled in March of 2018 at the Odawa Friendship Centre in Ottawa.
This eagle staff was created to recognize and honour First Nation people on Turtle Island, and in the spirit of reconciliation, (specifically Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #57) to raise awareness of First Nation people and culture.
In September 2021, in ceremony and in consultation with First Nation elders an additional eagle feather beaded in orange beads was added to the national eagle staff by S/Sgt. Jeff Poulette. This was done to honour and commemorate the legacy of residential schools and the thousands of Indigenous children who attended them. "
As the RCMP works towards reconciliation I wanted to ensure that the legacy of Indian Residential Schools will always be visibly represented by this additional eagle feather on our eagle staff".
The eagle staff is used during cultural events that the RCMP is invited to and was even included in change of command ceremony for the new commissioner of the force in 2018, a first for the RCMP.
The eagle staff carrier
First Nations RCMP member Staff Sergeant (S/Sgt.) Jeff Poulette accepted responsibility for working on this initiative and is the eagle staff carrier. He currently works with RCMP-Indigenous Relations Services (RIRS) at National Headquarters.
"This eagle staff for me represents the importance of honouring and recognizing the relationship and the spiritual connection to the land that First Nations people have," says S/Sgt. Poulette. "Like all relationships, the eagle staff required time, dedication and support from others to bring it to life."
S/Sgt. Poulette dedicated three years to consulting with First Nation Elders and veterans on protocols related to eagle staffs, and receiving the staff's components. All were gifted to the RCMP from different regions of Canada.
The eagle staff materials
- The wooden staff is a tree from Nova Scotia given by friends of the force
- The deer horn was a shed from a white tail deer, and gifted from a Métis person in Saskatchewan
- The eagle feathers are from the Manitoba Wildlife Federation
- The beaded NAPS ensign (at top) was created by an Inuk woman in Ottawa
- Sinew was gifted by Kitigan Zibi First Nation Elder from Quebec
- The large red flag and small ensign flags (one for each province/territory) was created by the RCMP's Master Tailor
"This eagle staff has 14 eagle feathers on it, one for residential schools and 13 for each part of Turtle Island (the original name for North America), and the 13 Grandmother Moon teachings," says S/Sgt. Poulette.
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