In a ceremony at Nova Scotia RCMP Headquarters earlier today, the Eagle feather initiative was extended province-wide as an option to swear legal oaths. Detachment Commanders/supervisors were presented with Eagle feathers for their detachment areas.
The Eagle feather can be used in the same way as a Bible or affirmation and may also be offered as a comfort for a client when interacting with employees at a detachment. All clients including victims, witnesses and police officers will have the option to swear legal oaths on an Eagle feather.
Nova Scotia RCMP first launched the Eagle feather initiative in October 2017 to detachments whose area included an Indigenous community. Following today's ceremony, all 54 RCMP detachments in Nova Scotia will have an Eagle feather available.
A/Commr. Brian Brennan, Commanding Officer of the Nova Scotia RCMP, was joined by Karen Hudson, QC, Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General for Nova Scotia.
"I am so pleased to see the Nova Scotia RCMP expanding the initiative and providing the Eagle feather to every detachment across the province," said Mark Furey, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. "We all want our justice system to be more responsive and sensitive to Indigenous culture in our province, and the Eagle feather represents such a powerful spiritual symbol for the Mi'kmaw people."
As part of the ceremony, Clifford Paul of Membertou presented on the significance of the Eagle feather. Elder Jane Abram of Millbrook First Nations cleansed the Eagle feathers through a smudging ceremony and Keptin Donald Julien, Executive Director, Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, offered a blessing. The Eagle feathers were then distributed. The Mi'kmaq Honour Song closed the ceremony.
"It's important to have the Eagle feather available in RCMP detachments across Nova Scotia," said A/Commr. Brian Brennan, Commanding Officer of the Nova Scotia RCMP. "We value Indigenous culture and this is a step toward increasing cultural awareness in the Force."
As part of the initiative, each detachment will display a poster in English, French and Mi'kmaq explaining how the Eagle feather may be used.
Eagle feather background:
- When a client enters a detachment to provide a statement, they will be given three options; to swear on a Bible, affirm or affirm with an Eagle feather.
- The Eagle feather may also be offered as a comfort for a client when interacting with employees at the detachment.
- The Eagle feather can be used by all citizens. Should the client wish to use the Eagle feather, it would be held by the client while providing their evidence or statement.
Photo credit: Government House