Canadian police get backlash for uniform that looks like Native headdress


Canadian Mounties new uniform designed to honor Indigenous tribe deemed ‘high key offensive’

The Mounties history with Indigenous peoples was flagged.


Tricia Crimmins


Yesterday, the Canadian national police service, better known as the Mounties, announced it was adding a “Ribbon Skirt” to its uniform to demonstrate “reconciliation, equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

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The skirt, along with the uniforms’ Eagle Feather and Métis Sash, are getting backlash online for missing the mark on attempting to reconcile with the Métis people, who are indigenous to Canada.

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“Today the #RCMP officially announces the addition of the Ribbon Skirt to the RCMP uniform,” Royal Canadian Mountain Police Commissioner Mike Duheme tweeted. “The Ribbon Skirt, along with our Eagle Feather and Métis Sash, demonstrate the RCMP’s values of reconciliation, equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

On its social media accounts, the RCMP has displayed an effort to “enhance visibility and better reflect Indigenous culture within the RCMP” through the force’s uniform.

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Last year, the police service created a guide to instruct Indigenous members of the force “how to incorporate the Eagle Feather and Métis Sash into their ceremonial dress.”

There are more than half a million Métis people in Canada and the tribe is one of three recognized by the country.

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The RCMP is open about its efforts to reconcile with the Métis people after Canada officially apologized to all three recognized tribes for the Indian residential school system where hundreds of Indigenous people were found dead in mass graves. The school system separated Indigenous children from their parents and prohibited them from speaking their native languages.

The police force is also reportedly a “major factor” in the genocide of Indigenous women and girls because officers under protect the community and contribute to abuse themselves.

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Many Indigenous people posted on X about the police uniform and called it offensive and laughable.

“This is high key offensive,” Cheyenne McNeil, a Cherokee and Annishnaabe woman tweeted.

“At this point all I can do is laugh,” Joy Henderson, an Afro-Indigenous Lakota woman said.

Others pointed to the dark history the RCMP has with Canadian Indigenous people.

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“I still can not wrap my head around Indigenizing the uniform of the force that was literally created to control Indigenous people,” Jennifer Elle, an Indigenous woman, tweeted.

“A ribbon skirt was meant to represent the strength, pride and spirituality of Anishnaabe women. Who would wear this as part of the uniform of a colonizing entity?” Behtianne, another Indigenous woman, said. “This is unacceptable. Did Indigenous women of the RCMP ask for this?”

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