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AFNQL Condemns the RCMP’s Cultural Appropriation with New “Ribbon Skirt”

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by ahnationtalk on May 24, 202418 Views


WENDAKE, QC, May 24, 2024  – The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) strongly condemns the recent announcement by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to include a “ribbon skirt” in its official uniform as part of its reconciliation, equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives.

RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme announced this initiative via social media, stating that the “ribbon skirt,” along with the eagle feather and Métis sash, reflects the values of reconciliation and respect for cultural diversity.

A blatant disrespect

The AFNQL considers this decision not only an insult to the culture and history of Indigenous peoples but also a misguided and superficial attempt to address the historical and contemporary injustices perpetrated by the RCMP. “The ribbon skirt, a symbol of strength, pride, and spirituality  cannot be reduced to a mere accessory for the uniform of a police force that has historically oppressed Indigenous communities,” stated AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard.

Ignoring the real issues

This action by the RCMP diverts attention from the real issues that persist, including the RCMP’s role in historical violence against First Nations and its involvement in colonization policies, such as the Indian residential school system. “Instead of incorporating cultural elements into their uniform, the RCMP should focus its efforts on concrete actions to repair the harm caused, such as implementing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,” added Chief Picard.

Consultation and respect: necessary actions

The AFNQL calls for genuine consultation with First Nations before making symbolic decisions that directly impact their cultural heritage. “Reconciliation actions must be guided by respect and recognition of the needs and wishes of Indigenous peoples, not by symbolic gestures devoid of depth and understanding. This RCMP initiative is an unacceptable cultural appropriation that diverts attention from the real issues facing our communities. Reconciliation cannot be achieved through empty symbolic gestures but through concrete actions and genuine respect for our cultures and history,” emphasized Chief Picard.

The AFNQL urges the RCMP to reconsider this decision and adopt authentic and meaningful measures to address historical and contemporary injustices. True reconciliation requires more than superficial adjustments to uniforms; it demands a sincere commitment to justice, reparation, and respect for Indigenous cultures.

About the AFNQL

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the regional political organization that brings together the 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. To find out more, visit the AFNQL website at https://apnql.com/en/.

For further information: Mathilde Robitaille-Lefebvre, 819-852-4762, communications@apnql.com

NT6

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