North

Jigging RCMP officer wows Tulita, N.W.T.

Splitting his pants while jigging at a community feast capped off two years of service in the hamlet for RCMP Const. Hugo Lévesque. 'I never jigged in my entire life before, so it was complete improvisation on my part,' says RCMP Const. Hugo Lévesque.

'I never jigged in my entire life before, so it was complete improvisation on my part'

Constable Hugo Lévesque is being transferred to Yellowknife after two years of service in Tulita. He recently joined in the community's Fire Day celebration. (Erin Brohman)

A northern RCMP officer busted a move — and a seam — on his last weekend in Tulita, N.W.T.

RCMP Const. Hugo Lévesque was attending the community's Fire Day celebrations as he marked two years of service in the hamlet. 

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At a community barbecue that day, Lévesque and Const. Lindon Marten, who was also leaving the detachment, were given gifts by the community. Lévesque received a pair of beaded moosehide slippers; Marten, a pair of beaver mittens.

"People told me 'You're going to have to break in those slippers at the dance tonight', so I figured I'd show up there to see what was going on," says Lévesque. 

At the dance that night, the youth jigging contest began followed by the adult contest. Recreation co-ordinator Bradley Menacho was emceeing while Lévesque sat watching in plain clothes.

"We were at the end of all of our contestants and then I saw him sitting there," says Menacho. "It was his last weekend here, and then the Chief looked at me, pointed to him, so I said 'OK, can Hugo come up here and jig?'"

These slippers, made by elder Florence Horassi, were given to Lévesque on behalf of community. (Erin Brohman)
The crowd started applauding and urging Lévesque to take the floor. Lévesque ran back to the police truck to get his new slippers.

"I never jigged in my entire life before, so it was complete improvisation on my part," he said.

"I danced for a little while, and then I figured for entertainment's sakes I'd just drop down and do the splits."

And split he did.

"I even managed to split my pants in the process so it was fairly entertaining for everyone," he said.

Officers involved in community

Three RCMP officers are stationed in Tulita. The officers all have various roles in the community.

Cpl. Curtis Ping is the school basketball coach; Constables Lévesque and Marten were heavily involved in youth activities and recreation. The principal of Chief Albert Wright School says their involvement has made a difference for the entire community, especially the young people.

"I think we've had a very good run of very good RCMP in the community, RCMP who have put relationships first with people, and built a great level of trust," said Lorraine Kuer.

Lévesque is now on his way to Yellowknife and Marten is off to Paulatuk.

"I learned the next day I won second place," said Lévesque. "For a first time it's not bad. But I'm not thinking anytime soon to switch my career to dancer. I feel more secure in a uniform."

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