RCMP apologizes for sacred fire incident
Fire was disturbed at Trans-Canada Highway protest site
Representatives from P.E.I. RCMP, people protesting a Trans-Canada Highway project, and Mi'kmaq Keptin John Joe Sark held a talking circle Tuesday to heal some wounds left after an incident last month.
Sark had lit a sacred fire at the protest site, west of Charlottetown. The RCMP was sent in a few days later to clear the site to make way for construction crews.
RCMP said officers at a briefing on the site clearing were told not to touch the fire, but a protester at the camp reported an officer had removed a log from it.
At the talking circle Tuesday, RCMP Superintendent Craig Gibson apologized for the incident.
The RCMP say the member wasn't at a briefing where officers were told not to touch the fire. The officer was not at the talking circle, Tuesday. The police admit the log was lifted slightly out of the fire, but maintain it was quickly returned when a nearby officer saw what was happening.
Stories still differ
Sark said he accepts Gibson's apology, but noted there is still a disagreement over what happened with the log.
"I really appreciate his apology, but an apology has to be a full apology," said Sark.
"He did more than touch it. He pulled it out of the sacred fire, the log, and put it on the ground, threw it on the ground. And that was testified to by the eye witness."
Gibson said he's willing to work with Sark to improve cultural sensitivity within the Island force.
"It's important to take back that message to treat people with respect and to make sure we get out and get involved in the community and work with the community to get a better understanding," he said.
Sark said he's willing to work with the RCMP.