Celebrating Indigenous Northerners’ contributions to policing through new exhibit on Special Constables in the NWT
YELLOWKNIFE (August 4, 2017) – A new exhibit opened yesterday at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre to recognize and celebrate Indigenous Northerners’ contributions as they worked hand-in-hand with the RCMP in the early days of the Northwest Territories.
Presented as a Canada 150 event, the exhibit is a collaborative effort between the Government of the Northwest Territories, the RCMP and the people of the Northwest Territories who contributed their stories.
The “We Took Care of Them: Special Constables in the NWT” exhibit honours the Special Constables who worked with the RCMP, as well as the seamstresses, guides and interpreters who shared their invaluable skills and knowledge that often made the difference between life and death.
The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to continuing efforts to support the preservation, portrayal and promotion of the heritage of the NWT.
“This is an important story that needs to be told about Indigenous people of the NWT working side by side with the RCMP in the early days. Telling this story strengthens the important relationship between today’s RCMP and the communities they work with”.
–Louis Sebert, Minister of Justice
“I’d like to encourage all the former RCMP Special Constables, guides, interpreters, seamstresses and their families within the Northwest Territories to share their experiences with us through these exhibits. By documenting, sharing and celebrating their unique contributions, we help our residents reclaim the territory’s history as their own.”
–Alfred Moses, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment
“The contribution of Special Constables and their spouses and families is an important chapter in the history of the RCMP and the Northwest Territories. Without the support of Indigenous Northerners, our members stood little chance of survival or success. I am delighted to see this story told.”
– Dan Dubeau, RCMP Acting Commissioner
Over the past three years, small teams of researchers visited with families and Special Constables throughout the NWT to collect and record their memories. These stories are woven into the exhibit.
The stories collected will be used to inform six travelling exhibits, created with support from Canadian Heritage, that will be used by the RCMP as they work in communities.
A web-based interactive exhibit will also be launched to showcase the unique contributions the people of the Northwest Territories have made in supporting one of Canada’s foremost national institutions, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, later this year.