The Winnipeg Police Service continued with their efforts to embrace the Aboriginal Community by hosting the 17th annual Spring Feast at the Indian & Metis Friendship Center at 45 Robinson Street.
The event features a feast of hearty beef stew served to members of the Community by members of the WPS, including the WPS Cadets, CN Police, RCMP and Treaty Three Police Officers. In past years the officers served upwards of 650 community members during the event.
The idea for the event was born in 1997 when WPS Community Service Officers consulted an Aboriginal Elder seeking advice on how to best reach out to the Aboriginal Community. It was through this meeting that the idea for the Annual Spring Feast was born. The first gathering was coordinated by Constables Willie Ducharme & Rick Kosowan under the guidance of Elder Art Shofley.
This years event was attended by several Elders and Dignitaries that included Chief of Police Devon Clunis, Justice Minister Andrew Swan, MLA Kevin Chief and City Councillors Dan Vandal, Mike Pagtakhan & Devi Sharma. Opening prayers were performed by Elder Brian Mcleod.
In addressing the energetic crowd, Chief of Police Devon Clunis stressed his message of inclusion and Community. His remarks were echoed by Justice Minister Andrew Swan and the other speakers. After the formal remarks dozens of Police Officers & Cadets got down to the business of serving lunch to members of the Community.
As I mingled among the crowd it dawned on me how important it was for people in this community, especially children, to see Law Enforcement officers in the non-adversarial role of friend and partner in the Community. The message is a strong one.
Judging from some of the conversations I had with several people in the crowd, they’re starting to get it.
WPS SWORN OFFICER DEMOGRAPHICS
CAUCASIAN OFFICERS 1148 = 83%
ABORIGINAL OFFICERS – 148 = 11%
VISIBLE MINORITIES – 86 = 6%
WPS NEWS RELEASE:
17th Annual Winnipeg Police Service North End Spring Feast
Members of the Winnipeg Police Service District #3 Community Support Unit will be hosting the 17th Annual Spring Feast at the Indian & Metis Friendship Centre at 45 Robinson Street, on Friday, April 12th at 12 noon.
In traditional Aboriginal communities, there were a select group of individuals known as the Peacekeepers or Warriors of the tribe. They were from the Bear Clan and assumed the responsibility to protect the community from harm. Another important role was to provide food to ensure no one within the community was hungry.
As police officers, we are honorary members of the bear clan and are expected to perform a wide range of duties and assume many different roles including being a Peacekeeper.
The Winnipeg Police Service North End Spring Feast, under the guidance of an Aboriginal Elder, is reminiscent of the tradition whereby the hunters in the community prepared and held a Community Feast.
This has proven to be a tremendous success and has enhanced the relationship between the members of our Police Service and the Aboriginal Community.
This year with the assistance of RB Russell culinary staff, Police Officers will prepare beef stew and serve it with bannock to members of community. In the past years, Officers have served upwards of 650 community members during this event.
This year Winnipeg Police Service members, including the WPS Cadets, along with CP, CN, RCMP and Treaty Three police officers, are honoured to represent the Bear Clan at this Traditional feast.
Business contributors of this year’s feast have made possible book scholarships for north end students. Performers from the area schools and Aboriginal Community will be in attendance.
Members of the media are welcome to attend.