MKO was invited to the RCMP Special Constable Tribute, that took place on March 8, 2023, at the Thompson RCMP Detachment for the Manitoba North District Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
At the tribute, a life size wood carving by Rick Hall was unveiled. It was constructed to pay memorialize the role of Indigenous Special Constables and their contributions to Northern Manitoba.
The unveiling ceremony took place at the Thompson RCMP Detachment for the Manitoba North RCMP where the statue will remain in the front lobby for the public to view. During the ceremony, Elder Jack Robinson blessed the carving and gave inspirational prayers in Cree and English.
While viewing the statue in the Thompson Detachment lobby, you can also find a star blanket and three art panels, measuring 17 ft x 4 ft, completed by Indigenous artist and Misipawistik Cree Nation band member, Chandler McLeod.
The blanket feature the RCMP’s horse and rider logo, as well as the RCMP crest. The star has eight points, which symbolize kindness, humility, honesty, respect, healing, forgiveness, wisdom, and love. The points face outward which represents the relationship with family, friends, and the community.
MKO supported this initiative, stating, “It is an important acknowledgment to the Indigenous community that the detachment wants to showcase our rich and vibrant culture.”
While at the tribute, Superintendent Ryan Mitchell shared that the RCMP is working to strengthen trust with Indigenous peoples in Canada to promote better understanding and respect. He also spoke about several important cultural acknowledgement steps that the RCMP have taken to strengthen community relationships and communication with Indigenous peoples, in order to move towards healing and reconciliation. The carving, star blanket, and the names in Cree syllabics on RCMP officers uniforms are visual acknowledgements that this process has begun and will continue into a more cohesive plan.
Grand Chief settee informed the gathering that, “this is the beginning of a long road ahead, built on acknowledging past harm, and listening with respect to Indigenous people.” He shared that he can see the work that is being done to strengthen the relationship between the RCMP and First Nation people, and that MKO will take strides to ensure this critical step towards reconciliation is advanced in collaboration.
MKO wishes to acknowledge Superintendent Ryan Mitchell, District Commander at RCMP Manitoba North District, for his continued advancement on ensuring the reconciliation process occurs under his command.
We also acknowledge Staff Sergeant Shayne Smith, Advisory NCO RCMP Manitoba North District, for his thorough research and commitment to cultural protocols of the First Nation peoples traditions.
Thank you to the attendees that were a part of the unveiling ceremony, including Starr Beardy, Deputy Mayor Kathy Valentino, Acting City Manager Lyle Safrontz, Deputy Fire Chief Aisling Sweeny, Special Constables, RCMP Administration Staff, and members of the general public.