The RCMP “B” Division, Newfoundland and Labrador, held their third annual Indigenous Peoples Day events at their headquarters in Pleasantville on Friday morning with an indigenous flag-raising ceremony, a smudging ceremony and the presentation of eagle feathers and a smudging bowl to the RCMP in the province to be used at its detachments provincewide.
Odelle Pike of the Newfoundland and Labrador Aboriginal Women’s Network, who took part in the presentations, said the use of the eagle feather and smudging ceremony in law enforcement is a significant step toward reconciliation, recognizing the importance of indigenous history, culture and spirituality and also helping the justice system to be more responsive and sensitive to Indigenous cultures.
The eagle feather can be used in the same way as a Bible for affirmation, and also may be offered as 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.
The feather is a powerful symbol that signifies honour and a connection between the owner, the Creator and the bird the feathers came from. It symbolizes trust, honour, strength, wisdom, power and freedom.
In Indigenous culture, the eagle is considered the strongest and bravest of birds.
Friday marked the first time the RCMP “B” Division was bestowed this honour.