N.B. RCMP tweets Indigenous land acknowledgment as province orders its employees to stop
The New Brunswick RCMP says it remains committed to “strengthening relationships” between Mounties and Indigenous communities, as the province finds itself in the midst of litigation involving several Indigenous groups.
On Saturday, New Brunswick RCMP sent several tweets acknowledging that the lands in which the province is situated are the unceded and unsurrendered traditional territory of the Wǝlastǝkwiyik/Wolastoqiyik, Mi'kmaq/Mi'kmaw and Peskotomuhkatiyik/Peskotomuhkati.
“We prioritize the education and awareness of all employees in fostering a change in the culture of the RCMP to attain and promote mutual respect, trust and open communication with Indigenous communities," the police service said.
The move comes two days after the New Brunswick government ordered employees to stop making territorial or title acknowledgments in reference to Indigenous lands, citing a series of legal actions and land claims initiated by First Nations.
Attorney General Hugh Flemming told reporters late Friday, the directive was in response to a lawsuit filed last year by six Wolastoqey communities claiming ownership of more than 60 per cent of the province.
The order was included in a memo issued Thursday to all government employees by Flemming.
It is common across Canada for politicians and others to begin events by stating that they are standing on unceded territories of various Indigenous Peoples.
The memo said the order covers land or territorial acknowledgments during meetings and events, in documents and in email signatures. Employees can make reference to ancestral territory but not use the terms "unceded" or "unsurrendered," Flemming's memo said.
- With files from The Canadian Press