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

New loonie reason to celebrate and educate: central Alberta LGBTQ community

The new LGBTQ2 loonie is a conversation starter and a reason to… Continue reading

Indigenous cultural centre needed in Red Deer

Urban Aboriginal Voices Society hosts annual community gathering

Red Deer youth recognized for his compassion

Blackfalds man dies after vehicle collision

Shots fired at O’Chiese residence early Tuesday

Two occupants were not injured in 6:50 a.m. shooting

Red Deer County to freeze 2019 taxes

Good financial numbers to be passed on to ratepayers

MISSING: Joshua Arthur Sanford

37-year-old Ponoka man last seen on Tuesday morning

Inspired by a galaxy far, far away, these ‘Star Wars’ mementos could be yours forever

CHICAGO —The stuff of “Star Wars” —and there is unfortunately no better… Continue reading

Shoppers Drug Mart launches second online medical pot portal in Alberta

TORONTO — Medical cannabis users in Alberta can now get their therapeutic… Continue reading

Oh, yes! Nurse, Raptors look to finish series with Magic

DENVER — In response to an early call, Toronto coach Nick Nurse… Continue reading

Delay of game calls, goalie interference top worst rules for NHLers: survey

The pace and excitement of 3-on-3 overtime isn’t just a thrill for… Continue reading

Avengers get epic send-off at ‘Endgame’ world premiere

LOS ANGELES — There were more than a few sniffles from the… Continue reading

Writers’ Trust launches program pairing rising writers with established mentors

TORONTO — The Writers’ Trust has launched a program that gives five… Continue reading

Family: A potpourri of Easter egg hunts, music and politics

The election is a thing of the past. Albertans have spoken. They… Continue reading

Most Read