Elders first civilians to receive badges from SPS
- EFN Staff | March 17, 2015
A feisty group of elders have become an invaluable asset available to the Saskatoon Police Service. The elders and police meet regularly with respect to cultivating a meaningful, ongoing relationship between the police service and the Aboriginal community. To acknowledge their importance, Police Chief Clive Weighill recently presented plaques with a Chief's Advisory badge to each member of the Chief's Elders Advisory Committee. This makes them the first civilian group in the history of the police force to receive badges.
Elder Joe Quewezance knows lots about justice. The former Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief was a member of the First Nation and Métis Justice Reform Commission that toured Saskatchewan in the hey days of allegations and convictions of Saskatoon Police Service officers for handling of aboriginal people.
“Following some of the things that have happened over the years both with RCMP and city police sometimes I think of those happenings in past years and hopefully we have a better run at it,” said Quewezance after the badge ceremony on the role of the elders. “I hesitate to always say there is real downright progress. My hope is that over time we can see real improvements. And I’m always on the lookout for people who don’t want to make improvements. I think that’s my role here as a citizen of Saskatchewan and an elder with knowledge of what’s happened in prior years.”
The Elders Advisory Committee has been around for over fifteen years and was formed to help better communication between the police and the community. They meet four times seasonally with yearly feasts and a sweat lodge ceremony.
Chief Clive Weighill was direct about the help that the elders provide to the police service and the community beyond.
“What I appreciate is that the elders are very frank and brutally honest. Now many of our elders don’t get the accolades they deserve. They help people in court and in need and they help the youth and are such an integral part of the community that we thought it was only appropriate that they be honoured.”
The badges are honourary and do not allow the elders to arrest anyone, but it does give them something to be proud of. Elder Linda Young is going to display hers.
“It is a honourary badge but we are also here to honour what they do. We give them feedback on issues that arise. I will show this badge to my grandchildren. I have all these certificates and degrees, but I never put them up. But I think I’ll take this badge and put it up in my office at Confederation School where the students can see it.”
To Joe Quewezance, it means a lot.
“To me this badge is a great honour. Very proud of how the police chief has handled his appreciation for the elders group. He said something of our involvement. He said we are very vocal. If I see something wrong I say it,” added Quewezance. “I think my role nowadays, if nothing else is to speak out for the young generation. I think as a grandfather and great grandfather I owe it to the young generation that they get treated as respectfully as possible.”
Saskatoon Police Service Elder's Advisory Council:
Walter & Maria Linklater
Mrs. Patricia Yuzicappi-Buffalo & Fred Buffalo
Mrs. Melvina Eagle
Mrs. Evelyn Linklater & Mrs. Florence Highway
Click here for a photo gallery of the Elders receiving their badges.
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