Goldstars News

Wetaskiwin courthouse to allow people to swear oath on eagle feather

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Indigenous people will soon be able to swear their oath on an eagle feather at the courthouse in Wetaskiwin.

A bestowment ceremony will take place at the courthouse Monday afternoon, where eagle feathers will be formally presented to the court on the steps outside, after a pipe and smudge ceremony to bless the feathers.

Elders and Chiefs from Ermineskin Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation, Louis Bull Tribe and the Montana First Nation will be attendance, along with provincial court Chief Judge Terrance Matchett, provincial court Associate Chief Judge Jim Hunter and Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Marilyn Slawinsky.

This is not the first of its kind in Alberta. The courthouse in Lethbridge started to provide eagle feathers last year, and it became an option in Athabasca this past summer.

Provinces like Nova Scotia and Manitoba have eagle feathers at all of their courthouses.

After the Lethbridge ceremony in November 2018, Justice Jim Langston with the Court of Queen’s Bench spoke to media.

“It will replace a bible, a Koran, the old testament, whatever someone may use as an instrument to bind their testimony to tell the truth,” said Langston.