A first for First Nations

The first RCMP detachment designed, financed and built by a First Nation in Canada was proudly unveiled Friday morning.

Stating that it was an historic day for the people of Hobbema and surrounding area

HOBBEMA — The first RCMP detachment designed, financed and built by a First Nation in Canada was proudly unveiled Friday morning.

The grand opening ceremony began with the beat of drums and a procession coloured by the Mounties’ red serge and the rainbow costumes of native dancers.

Speakers from the four nations of the Maskwacis community saw the 13,100-square-foot building as a modern-day symbol of the community’s determination to confront violence in order to create a safe home for the reserve’s children, but also as a reinforcement of Treaty 6 promises.

Those promises were to provide policing and protection to the Samson, Ermineskin, Louis Bull and Montana nations.

“This new building is an example of that fulfilment of that particular treaty promise,” said Samson Chief Marvin Yellowbird.

The Samson Cree Nation financed and built the detachment without federal or provincial funding, he said. “It’s the first time in Canada this approach to creating an RCMP detachment has been used on a reserve.”

Montana Nation Chief Carolyn Buffalo said the detachment has been a very long time coming and she praised the Samson Nation for taking the lead on a project that will benefit all four nations.

While Hobbema has often been painted with a “black brush” for its crime problems, she said it is a good community and one that is working hard to provide a good place for children to grow up.

Buffalo said police have a difficult job and she is grateful for their contributions.

“I support the work of the RCMP because you work hard to keep the little ones safe. And as a mother, I thank you.”

RCMP K Division commanding officer Rod Knecht said “very significant progress” has been made in tackling the area’s crime in the last few months and the new detachment serves as a testament to the commitment of police, governments and the community.

In the last several years, Hobbema had seen a rising tide of violence, largely blamed on rival gangs. The senselessness of the violence was never more apparent than in April 2008, when a 23-month-old was wounded in a drive-by shooting as she ate dinner with her family. Last month, 19-year-old pleaded guilty to charges related to the shooting and will be sentenced in November.

Several speakers talked of the progress being made and Alberta Aboriginal Relations Minister Gene Zwozdesky said he was encouraged that more children were now seen in local playgrounds.

“This is a positive sign that you are all making a big difference.”

Cliff Potts, a former RCMP officer and past Samson councillor, said 18 years ago council passed a motion to pursue a new detachment building for the community.

“I knew at the time it was never going to be an easy project to get going,” he said. At the time there was talk of going to a tribal police force and he asked the elders what should be done.

They told him that the treaty had given them the RCMP to protect the community and “don’t ever let them go.”

Asked how he felt now the detachment was open, he said, “My heart soars like an eagle.

“It’s something that was needed for a while,” he added.

Flora Northwest said her mother Alice was an elder and always a strong supporter of police and she carries on that tradition with her children and grandchildren.

The Mounties have historically been there to protect First Nations people and those in other communities. “It’s an honour to have them here.”

Insp. Donald Ladouceur, head of the Maskwacis RCMP detachment, said the building provides a modern workplace for 55 officers and six support staff, who had outgrown their existing two-storey detachment building.

The new building also provides cell space for prisoners. In the old building, four cells were available for overnight stays, but all other prisoners had to be taken to the Wetaskiwin RCMP detachment. The new building also comes with space for victim’s services and a room has been set aside for an elder. There is also meeting spaces, better storage for exhibits and the necessary work areas for the busy detachment.


Just Posted

Parenting: Every woman will have a different pregnancy experience

Wife whose hormones are unbalanced can be unpleasant experience

Men posing as repo men attempt to steal vehicle in Red Deer County

Two men attempted to steal a utility vehicle from a Red Deer… Continue reading

Red Deerian spreads kindness with one card at a time

One Red Deerian wants to combat bullying by spreading kindness in the… Continue reading

Bowden baby in need of surgery

“Help for Alexis” Go Fund Me account

PHOTO: First Rider bus safety in Red Deer

Central Alberta students learned bus safety in the Notre Dame High School… Continue reading

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Woman has finger ripped off at West Edmonton Mall waterslide

SASKATOON — A Saskatchewan woman says she lost a finger after her… Continue reading

Uncertainty looms over Canada’s cannabis tourism, but ambitions are high

TORONTO — Longtime marijuana advocate Neev Tapiero is ready for the cannabis-driven… Continue reading

Feds mulling safeguards to prevent ‘surge’ of cheap steel imports into Canada

OTTAWA — The federal government extended an olive branch of sorts to… Continue reading

Ontario govt caps off summer session by passing bill to cut Toronto council size

TORONTO — The Ontario government passed a controversial bill to slash the… Continue reading

Updated:Italian bridge collapse sends cars plunging, killing 26

MILAN — A 51-year-old highway bridge in the Italian port city of… Continue reading

Saudi Arabia spat affecting Canadians embarking on hajj, community members say

TORONTO — Members of Canada’s Muslim community say recent tensions between Ottawa… Continue reading

Tug carrying up to 22,000 litres of fuel capsizes in Fraser River off Vancouver

VANCOUVER — The smell of diesel filled the air as crews worked… Continue reading

Nebraska executes first inmate using fentanyl

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska carried out its first execution in more than… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month