The RCMP has officially introduced eagle feathers into the Nova Scotia justice system.

On Monday the force announced the feather is being added alongside affirmations and the Bible as an object to swear upon while giving a testimony under oath.

“To wear or to hold an eagle feather causes our creator to take immediate notice,” explained Donald Julien, a member of the Mi’kmaq community and former veteran for the Canadian Armed Forces and United Nations. He emphasised the important symbolism of the eagle feather to First Nations people. “[This is a] wonderful show of understanding and the acknowledgement of our traditional ways of expressing our prayer,” he said.

Nova Scotia’s aboriginal policing analyst, RCMP Cpl. De-Anne Sack, was responsible for the idea and helped process the official introduction into the justice system.

“To many First Nations people, when you give them a Bible, it doesn’t mean anything”, Sack said via in an RCMP statement. “But if you give them an eagle feather, it carries more significance, power and clout.”

The feather can also be used for all citizens, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, for comfort as well.

“It has an energy of it’s own,” said Clifford Paul while explaining the symbolism and significance of the eagle feather. “The eagle is the messenger [to the Creator] in our world…It’s always an honour when an eagle shows itself...If you were to receive an eagle feather, it is a higher honour than receiving the Noble Peace Prize or a gold medal at the Olympics.”

Each of the feathers is cleansed -or ‘smudged’-by smoke from one of the four-main natural medicines used by First Nations communities before it is given to law enforcement. Feathers are individually placed in a red case, along with an official letter and standard judicial procedures. They will be smudged once a year.

Jane Abram from the Millbrook First Nation smudged the first of 13 feathers that will be given to provincial courts in communities around Nova Scotia. The RCMP said the remainder will be introduced in early 2018.

“I think it’s a ground-breaking moment, really. I’m so happy and pleased and honoured because it says so much especially to First Nations people and to me personally,” Abram said.

She also hopes Nova Scotia will serve as an example to other provinces to introduce the feather into their justice system. She stressed it is an important step towards reconciliation.

“I feel that it’s going to take hold and hopefully other [provinces] will do the same,” she said. “I hope that we can continue to work towards truth and reconciliation for both parties, for the non-Indigenous as well as the Indigenous people. To work together and have a stronger relationship in doing so.”

The RCMP said this initiative is a first in Canada for the force. .

Responses to "Nova Scotia to allow First people to swear on eagle feathers rather than a Bible"

  1. Unknown says:

    Great Canada,,,,,,,Just Great Native Power forever. Crazy Young Lewis

  2. Unknown says:

    Ho-wah It means more to us.

  3. Honour-Respect-Truth-Integrity .. and Acknowledgment that one book is not every person's belief or symbol.

  4. Unknown says:

    As im Cherokee , I use my Eagle feather healing an many other thing's . It's a Honor an true facts .

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