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Tell the RCMP: Protect Indigenous People, Don't Appropriate Our Culture

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The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP or Mounties) recently announced they’re incorporating traditional Indigenous ribbon skirts as a uniform option. It’s time for the Mounties to stop appropriating Indigenous culture and start doing the real work to protect Indigenous People.

Petition Text:

Dear RCMP,

Your recent announcement that you’ll incorporate an option for some officers to wear ribbon skirts at police ceremonies is misguided and offensive. While you should, in fact, celebrate Canada’s Indigenous communities, you shouldn’t appropriate their culture — particularly when you have a 150-year history of subjugating them. What you should do is protect Indigenous communities. And you should be fully transparent about the Mounties’ long-lived oppression of First Nations Peoples. There can be no reconciliation without truth.

On your Indigenous Relations webpage, for instance, you euphemistically refer to the “difficult history” the Mounties have had with Indigenous communities. The subsequent timeline, while taking some little responsibility, does not address the RMCP’s role in stealing Indigenous children from their homes for placement into Canada’s deadly residential schools, nor the Mounties’ responsibility for enforcing truancy in them. You should fix that.

Nor do you take responsibility for the “starlight tours,” in which Canadian police took Indigenous citizens of Canada to the rural outskirts of cities and abandoned them in below-freezing temperatures. Nor does it address the over-policing of direct protest actions such as the one undertaken by the Wet’suwet’en People seeking to protect their yinta from the Coastal Gaslink pipeline — yet another example of an Indigenous community suffering on the frontlines while trying to protect the Earth from noxious, unnecessary fossil fuel infrastructure. You should fix all of that.

Most importantly, you should make it an organizational mandate to prioritize protection of Indigenous communities. Stop using violence and force against peaceful citizens of Canada and First Nations. Formulate and execute a nationwide plan to address the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People — and use your people power to get to the bottom of every case.

This is not the time for ceremonial gestures or shallow words. Take your responsibility to protect the people of Canada — especially the first people of Canada — seriously. The world is watching.

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