The RCMP Academy believes it's important to continue providing cadets and employees opportunities to gain deeper understanding of Indigenous heritage and the Residential School legacy contributing to the RCMP's Reconciliation journey. To mark National Indigenous Peoples Day, a mikiwahp (Cree) or tipi was installed on base with the help of Knowledge Keeper, Lyndon J. Linklater.
Cadets and staff, took part in the installation process, which first began by stripping the bark off the black spruce poles to prepare the mikiwahp frame. During this time, Mr. Linklater shared stories with volunteers of his background and how he learned the tipi protocols from his elders. After the frame was tied, the poles cured for a week before the canvas was applied. The canvas was sewn locally by Grace Stevenson and features four rows of zig-zag stitching.
Following the installation, a traditional smudging ceremony was performed to cleanse the new space. The door for the mikiwahp faces south as per Cree tradition and to acknowledge Depot being in Treaty 4 Territory. Treaty 4 includes the territories of the nêhiyawak (Cree), Anihšināpēk (Saulteaux), Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda, and the homeland of the Métis/Michif Nation.
The location of the mikiwahp was selected in collaboration with Mr. Linklater and the Commanding Officer's Indigenous Advisory Committee as it embodies reconciliation.
Here at Depot, I help teach about our history, our Treaties and our culture. There are many people upset about Canada's history, and truth and reconciliation is a journey that works in two ways. Facing truth is very hard, but so is forgiving. The location of this mikiwahp reflects this and by teaching in a good protocol way, we can grow together. The more we can do things like this as people, the better things will be," says Mr. Linklater.
The RCMP Academy supports teachings within the Cadet Training Program including those that showcase the proud moments of the Force's history while at the same time, truthfully acknowledging those areas the RCMP has committed to reconciliation.
Teachings from Indigenous partners helps our cadets better understand the legacy of the residential schools and the impact it has on many communities they will police in. We appreciate the teachings and experiences that our knowledge keeper continues to share with us at the RCMP Academy," says Depot's new Commanding Officer, Chief Superintendent Sylvie Bourassa-Muise.
Depot looks forward to more opportunities like this to learn and collaborate with Indigenous communities, peoples and employees.