Indigenous Bio: CST Beverly PITAWANAKWAT

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Indigenous Bio: CST Beverly PITAWANAKWAT

By: Beverly PITAWANAKWAT | RCMP Constable
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Ahnii. Hello. My name is CST Beverly PITAWANAKWAT, an RCMP constable with the First Nations Policing Unit for the community of Chehalis. I am “Anishnabe-kwehn”, a very proud Ojibwe from Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island in Ontario. My mother is Rosa, who still lives on our home soil. My father - who has passed on to the spirit world - is Julian. My maternal grandparents, also passed on, are Jane & Sylvester. My paternal grandparents, also with our Creator, are Victoria & Phillip.

I was born and raised on our reserve, and our Band has an approximate membership of 7,000 people. The majority living off reserve, - such as myself. I have four siblings, three of whom live on our reserve, and have one adult son, and two amazing grandsons (ages 5 & 7) - I am “Nokomis” to them....grandmother in my language.

I currently work in the Sto:lo territory which I came to in April 2010. I am greatly honored to continue with my commitment in my capacity as an RCMP officer serving our First Nations communities. It has been an incredible 11 years, and all have been spent PROUDLY serving in the following Aboriginal communities:

•  Peter Ballanytyne Cree Nation - Pelican Narrows, Saskatchewan - 3 years

•  The Nak’azdli and Tlazten communities - Fort St. James, BC - 3 years

•  Assisted in a temporary position with the Stlatlimx Tribal Police - Mount Currie, BC

•  Huupacasath, Tseshaht, Huu-ay-aht (accessible by a 2 hour logging road), & Uchucklesaht (only accessible by boat) reserves, Port Alberni, BC - 2 yrs  

My life has not been an easy one, but with major determination and overcoming many fears I managed to tackle many roadblocks that confronted me. I worked for Transport Canada at the Toronto International airport for a number of years in an administrative job; I decided I was capable of more. So I went to college to be a Machinist Specialist, graduated, and began my Journeyman’s process . (During that time I certainly couldn’t afford a vehicle so I got a motorcycle license & a bike. Looking back, how crazy was I to manouevre through the traffic of Toronto.)

I decided to challenge myself again, and joined our Canadian Navy as a Marine Engineer. A career that had just opened up to women shortly before I joined. That was a huge social learning curve for many of the males at that time to have women in their midst. Hard work & tenacity won them over. That incredible career spanned 10.5 years as well.

I was a Navy diver for 9 years of my time with the Canadian Armed Forces. Many, many memories! The majority of my travels took me to countries around the Pacific Ocean - Hawaii, San Diego, San Franciso, Russia, Hong Kong, Guam, Manila, Thailand, Japan, Korea, and other ports in China. I had crossed the Panama Canal to take part in the United Nations embargo on Haiti in the mid 90’s.

If you have not felt how proud I am to be a First Nations person, let me say it out loud...”I am incredibly proud of who we are as a People of this land”. There have been many, many roadblocks along the way, we have come a long way, and we still have a journey ahead of us. I am also proud of this current uniform I have chosen to wear. It was not given to me, I had to earn it. It was a decision I had made to “come back” to our First Nations communities, leaving a job that more than satisfied my soul, to share the power of our strength & identity. I am a First Nations woman who became an RCMP officer to provide the respectful policing we deserve. I am honored to provide that service to the community of Chelais.

K’chi-mii-gwetch. My huge “thank you” for those who have taken me in so far, and making me feel at  “home”.

We need more Aboriginal RCMP members to work in our communities that would be the message I would like to send out to those who read my story. My career in the RCMP has been rewarding and I would encourage anyone who has a desire to make the RCMP their career to follow their dreams.

CPL Dee Stewart is the Aboriginal Recruiter for BC and I have a great respect for her determination to recruit more Aboriginal people into the RCMP. She has been a great Aboriginal role model for our people and her desire to help our communities is immense. She can be contacted via email: 000057453@rcmp-grc.gc.ca  

The RCMP is the federal police force of Canada and provides services at the federal, provincial and municipal level. The RCMP employs three categories of employees to handle the wide scope of its responsibilities: Regular Members (Police Officers), Civilian Members and Public Service Employees.

Regular Member (Police Officers)

Regular Members are responsible for preserving the peace, upholding the law and providing quality service in partnership with our communities. Working in the RCMP offers a variety of dynamic and meaningful challenges, opportunities to be posted across Canada and a competitive salary and benefits package. A Career Nowhere Near Ordinary is waiting for you to discover.

Civilian Members

Hired for their specialized scientific, technical or analytical skills, in areas such as human resources, forensics, computer programming and project management, Civilian Members provide support to front-line policing operations.

Public Service Employees

Public Service employees in areas such as administration, communications and internet technology provide the additional support to the business management of the RCMP.

The Aboriginal Pre-Cadet Training Program (APTP) offers Canadian Aboriginal people aged 19 – 29 the opportunity to experience daily police work with the RCMP. This 17 week summer program provides candidates with hands-on experience at the RCMP Academy (Depot) and a unique opportunity to work in or near their home community at a detachment with RCMP police officers.

Linda Kropp, originally from Toqualt Nation in Ucuelet, British Columbia, found the Aboriginal Pre-Cadet Program opened her eyes on policing and hopes the program continues to be offered.

" There seems to be a lot of Aboriginal people who want to be police and this seems to be a good opportunity for them to get started."

"The APTP program has helped me a lot, I get to see how the RCMP do things and what it is all about."
Linda Kropp, Troop 2011

Alex Ross of Métis descent joined the program from Airdrie, Alberta.

" I cannot see myself doing anything else. This is what I want and I will not stop until I am a Regular Member. "
Alex Ross, Troop 2011

About the Program

Beginning in May, APTP candidates attend a three week training session at the RCMP Academy (Depot) in Regina, Saskatchewan. The training includes collaborative problem-solving skills, law enforcement techniques, public speaking and cultural diversity. Elements of physical fitness and drill are incorporated into the training, which promote team work and provide candidates with long-term strategies to meet their personal fitness goals.

After successful completion of the APTP course, candidates are posted to an RCMP detachment in or near their home community where they will work with police officers for 14 weeks. Activities and duties vary depending on the need of the detachment but they will include crime prevention and community policing initiatives.

Basic requirements:

  • Be between 19 - 29 years of age;
  • Be of First Nation, Métis or Inuit descent;
  • Be a Canadian citizen;
  • Be of good character;
  • Be able to pass an enhanced reliability security check;
  • Be in good physical condition;
  • Possess a Canadian secondary school (high school) diploma or equivalent; and
  • Possess and maintain a valid, unrestricted Canadian driver's licence.

For more information on this program and how you can apply, contact your local recruiting office.

Posted on January 02, 2013