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Graduation Ceremony Historic Occasion

Lyla Lavallee, FSI Reporter

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MARCH 31 1975      v05 n06 p02  
Regina - "March 14, 1975, is a day that will be remembered by the seven graduates of the Special Indian Constable Program and the Indian people of Saskatchewan. It is a special day in our history ... and it is something that will be remembered for a long time to come," said Chief Dave Ahenakew of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, when addressing the constables at the graduation ceremony held here recently.

This program has been in discussion since 1971 and became a reality in 1974. It is designed to encourage more Indians to enter into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police force. This would help bridge the gap between the force and the native people.

"The seven constables will be invaluable in helping to span the cultural differences between the police and Indians and provide a greater awareness among other police officers about native people," stated Supt. W. F. MacRae, Training Officer, Regina Dept.

Attorney General Roy Romanow expressed his wishes to the constables and said, "We will reach true equality only when the Commissioner of the R.C.M.P. is a native." He also stressed that natives make up 11 per cent of the population and that 70 per cent of all prison inmates were natives. He said, "This program will help solve the difficult situation in Saskatchewan," adding, "and the first phase is now finished and the hard work for the special constables is only now beginning."

Commanding officer, Toddison, said "I am proud of the people in this program and the people should be proud of their race." He also relayed messages received from the Commissioner of the force in Ottawa and from the Solicitor General, Warren Allmand, in congratulating the constables.

The graduates are all Treaty Indians from Saskatchewan and they are Jack McLean, who will be stationed at Punnichy, Brian Bellegarde at Balcarres, Douglas Moosomin at Big River, Raymond Sanderson at Pelican Narrows, Dennis Gamble at Meadow Lake, Greg Noolchoos at Buffalo Narrows and Archie Kayseas at Kamsack.

Also introduced was Miss Ruth Ahenakew, a new recruit and the first Indian lady to join the regular R.C.M.P. force. She starts regular training on March 17, 1975.

Chief Supt. George Reid presented each constable with their badge and identification card.

In return the seven constables presented a plaque to the R.C.M.P. This plaque, made of stretched deer hide, was given to the people of Canada to commemorate the fast graduation of the Special Constables and will be permanently displayed in the R.C.M.P. Museum.

This was a very historic occasion for the Indians of Saskatchewan and the royal Canadian Mounted Police force.

The Executive of the FSI attending the graduation ceremonies
[Top left] The Executive of the FSI attending the graduation ceremonies.
Constable Raymond Sanderson giving the Validictorian message.
Constable Raymond Sanderson giving the Validictorian message.
Supt. George Reid poses with the successful graduates.
[Middle Left] Supt. George Reid poses with the successful graduates.
Chief David Ahenakew, Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, congratulating the constables.
Chief David Ahenakew, Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, congratulating the constables.
Badges and identification cards being presented to the constables
[Bottom Left] Badges and identification cards being presented to the constables.
Supt. W.F. MacRae, Regina Depot, compliments the successful graduates.
Supt. W.F. MacRae, Regina Depot, compliments the successful graduates.
The graduating constables present the deer hide plaque to the R.C.M.P.
The graduating constables present the deer hide plaque to the R.C.M.P.
Deer hide plaque commemorates first Indian Constable graduation
Deer hide plaque commemorates first Indian Constable graduation