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EPS Northwest Campus facility opens with smudging ceremony


June 3, 2021
By Edmonton Police Service
Credit: Edmonton Police Service

June 3, 2021 – The culture and traditions of Indigenous Peoples were incorporated into the opening of Northwest Campus to bring Edmonton Police Service (EPS) and community members together in the spirit of reconciliation and to recognize the Treaty Six territory.

Elders Francis Whiskeyjack and Betty Letendre smudged the new facility to cleanse and provide prayer for the future of the Edmonton Police Service and the citizens they serve.

The smudging ceremony represents a holistic understanding of safety and deepens the connection of the facility to the community.  It was recommended by the Elders as an important step for cleansing and grounding the building with positive energy, and to ask for the Creator’s blessing on the many employees and citizens who will be inside.

“We come to bless this building,” said Elder Betty Letendre.  “Special blessings for this place, that in time these cells will be empty and that they will be used as teaching spaces for our younger children, and we must come together and help one another with that.”

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Northwest Campus was built to help EPS better serve the citizens of its growing city. Several key EPS areas are now be located on one site, including the Northwest Division Station, Recruit Training, Professional Development and Detainee Care.

Acting Sergeant Riley Ledig with Northwest Division and EPS Indigenous Equity Advisor Andrea Levey helped to coordinate the smudge ceremony and honour song at Northwest Campus on March 5.

As part of the ceremony, Chief Dale McFee and Elders Betty Letendre and Francis Whiskeyjack unveiled a Treaty Six land acknowledgement plaque for Northwest Campus and other EPS locations as well.

“With this acknowledgement, we are making a commitment to understand and appreciate the history and contributions of the Indigenous Peoples, to respect one another, and to move forward with a renewed spirit of friendship and cooperation,” said Chief McFee. “We are embarking on a new journey together.  As Canadians, we are all Treaty people.”