Saskatchewan

Mountie impresses crowd at Sask. powwow: 'You float and then you start to dance'

An RCMP officer originally from Quebec was invited to dance at this past weekend's Waterhen First Nation powwow in Saskatchewan.

Const. J.P. Gauthier was posted to the Waterhen Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan 5 months ago

RCMP officer dances at Sask. powwow

7 years ago
Duration 1:29
RCMP Cst. J.P. Gauthier dances at Waterhen First Nation powwow

Const. J.P. Gauthier didn't expect to be one of the performers when he went to the powwow in his community of Waterhen First Nation in Saskatchewan.

But when he was asked to honour the elders in attendance Sunday by dancing, he accepted.

"I was welcomed by the music, by the beat," said Gauthier, 

The music is coming from everywhere, there's a lot of people singing, there's a lot of people actually banging on the drums, there's a lot of people cheering.- RCMP Const. J.P. Gauthier

He described the feeling inside the circle of the grounds as overwhelming. About 500 people were in the crowd.

"The music is coming from everywhere, there's a lot of people singing, there's a lot of people actually banging on the drums, there's a lot of people cheering."

He said he's not much of a dancer, but he embraced the atmosphere and started moving. 

"It just makes you float, and then you start to dance and follow the people."

Waterhen is new home, not just a posting

Gauthier said that after the dance, people brought him water and kept coming up to him to introduce themselves, offer compliments and share stories of their family traditions. He said some people didn't know that he was living on the Waterhen First Nation. 

Gauthier, who became an RCMP officer seven months ago, arrived at the Waterhen First Nation, about 70 kilometres north of Meadow Lake, five months ago.

Originally from Montreal, he said he didn't know much about Cree culture before moving to Saskatchewan. But he's catching up quickly. 

"This is where I live now. This is my home," he said.

Gauthier is on a local committee that tackles policing and security issues. When he arrived, he was asked by committee members to be more than just a law enforcement officer, "not being the police officer of the community, but being part of the community and a police officer."

Gauthier said he will be at other powwows in the future.

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