ENFIELD: The three RCMP detachments that serve East Hants (Enfield; Rawdon; and Mount Uniacke) now all have an Eagle feather for which all victims, witnesses and police officers can now use to swear legal oaths on.
Sgt. Bridgit Leger, with East Hants RCMP in Enfield, said the eagle feather will 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.
“It provides an alternative to people who can swear on the eagle feather as opposed to the bible,” said Sgt. Leger. “This is important because it shows respect to our Aboriginal communities, our Aboriginal people.
“When they, or any one, are taking an oath from the police they can use the eagle feather.”
N.S. RCMP announced the historic first for the force in Oct. 2017, and the roll-out began earlier this year to detachments province-wide.
“The eagle feather is a powerful symbol and reflects the spirituality and tradition of the Mi’kmaw people,” said Mark Furey, Minister of Justice and Attorney General in a press release last October. “I believe the use of the eagle feather is an important step forward in helping our justice system be more responsive and sensitive to Indigenous cultures.”
Sgt. Leger said to date she’s not aware of the eagle feathers being used yet at any of the three East Hants detachments.
“We want to make sure our community aware that it is available, and that they can utilize it when with the RCMP,” she said. “It can also just be held by anybody who is dealing with the police as it often gives peace and comfort to an individual.”
Here’s some background information on the eagle feather:
- Now, when a client enters a detachment (whose area includes an Indigenous community – listed below) to provide a statement, they will now 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: Sgt. Bridgit Leger, with East Hants RCMP in Enfield, said the eagle feather will be used in the same way as a Bible and may also be offered as a comfort for a client when interacting with members at a detachment. The three East Hants detachments all have an eagle feather for use. (Healey photo)