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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Prince Edward Island has turn into the newest province to incorporate sacred eagle feathers in courtroom issues to acknowledge the significance of Indigenous tradition and take one other step in direction of reconciliation.
“By incorporating eagle feathers into our provincial courtroom proceedings, we aren’t solely recognizing their significance but in addition fostering a extra inclusive, compassionate and respectful justice system for all,” stated Lennox Island First Nation Chief Darlene Bernard on Sept. 26 at a ceremony on the Sir Louis Henry Davies Regulation Courts in Charlottetown.
The ceremony formally marked the inclusion of eagle feathers as another choice (together with swearing on a Bible or affirming) for folks to make use of in courtroom issues for making an oath or an affirmation. On the ceremony, six eagle feathers have been smudged and introduced to the courts to be used.
The presence of eagle feathers within the courtroom system acknowledges Indigenous views and traditions but in addition “fosters an setting the place all people can really feel heard, revered and understood,” stated the P.E.I. provincial courtroom’s Chief Decide Jeff Lantz.
“By offering a protected and culturally delicate setting, we will encourage significant participation and be sure that justice is profitable for all no matter cultural background.” – Chief Decide Jeff Lantz
Lantz added that the inclusion of the eagle feather “serves as a reminder that justice have to be grounded within the rule of regulation and the values of the various communities that we serve.”
“By offering a protected and culturally delicate setting, we will encourage significant participation and be sure that justice is profitable for all no matter cultural background,” he stated.
Bernard defined the non secular and symbolic significance that eagle feathers have in Indigenous tradition.
“They signify a profound connection to our traditions, our ancestors and the pure world,” she stated. “The eagle – flying highest and closest to the Creator – makes its feathers highly effective conduits for non secular connection and steering. For generations, the eagle feather has been a logo of honour and power utilized in sacred ceremonies as a mark of the utmost respect. And once you obtain an eagle feather, it’s a true present of honour.”
Together with eagle feathers within the P.E.I. courtroom system signifies an appreciation for Mi’kmaq and Indigenous traditions and “marks an necessary milestone in our ongoing journey in direction of reconciliation,” Bernard added.
Different audio system on the ceremony included Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry, P.E.I. Supreme Courtroom Justice Tracey Clements, Chief Justice James Gormley, P.E.I. Courtroom of Attraction, and Bloyce Thompson, P.E.I. minister of justice and public security and lawyer basic. The ceremony’s emcee was Kateri Coade, govt director of the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I.
The closing prayer was delivered by Abegweit First Nation elder Judy Clark.
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are among the many provinces which have additionally included eagle feathers of their courtroom issues.
Terrence McEachern is a justice reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He might be reached by e mail at [email protected] and might be adopted on X @terry_mcn.