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Eagle Feathers used under oath in Ontario courtroom

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  • Eagle Feathers used under oath in Ontario courtroom

    I'm just wondering what everyone thinks of this? Brantford is just outside of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

    By Michelle Ruby, Brantford Expositor

    People testifying in Brantford courtrooms now have the option of holding an eagle feather in the same way a Bible is used as a promise to tell the truth.

    The eagle feathers were presented to the Brantford courthouse at an official ceremony last month. They are also in use at the courthouse in North Bay.

    Aboriginals attach great importance to eagle feathers. They play a prominent part in many religious practices and ceremonies.

    A new oath has been created: “This eagle feather symbolizes our direct connection to the Creator for my people and I hold it in the spirit of the truth.”

    “It is another step in creating sensitivity in services that aboriginals access in the City of Brantford,” said Sherry Lewis, manager of community programs at Brantford Native Housing.

    Another alternative in the courtroom is to make an affirmation to tell the truth, which doesn't require any paraphernalia such as a bible or eagle feather.

    The summer 2012 edition of Footprints -- produced by the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs -- says the eagle feather can now be used in any courthouse in Ontario.

    “As is the case when someone takes an oath using a Bible or other religious book, it is up to the presiding judicial official to be satisfied that the person feels compelled to tell the truth,” the newsletter says. “Individuals can provide their own eagle feather if a courthouse does not have one.”

    Justice of the peace Patrice Valeriano saw the eagle feather being used in the travelling northern courts, said Lewis, and was behind the effort to bring the option to Brantford.

    “I think the court is attempting as best as possible to have in place those methods of having people's conscience bound to tell the truth -- Bible, Qur’an and Gita and now the eagle feather,” said Justice Gethin Edward.

    “This is an opportunity to recognize the diversity of the community and have them, wherever possible, to feel when they attend court they can have their conscience bound in a way that's tied to their beliefs.”

    Lewis said the eagle feathers in cedar boxes were presented to the Brantford courthouse after staff was trained in the proper care and handling of the symbols.

    Lewis said there is talk of other local courts, including those in Cayuga and Simcoe, using the eagle feather.

    -- With files from the Toronto Sun

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      dammit......we are screwed now......i have no problem lying on a stack of bibles
      "I on the trail of a possible good Indian lady and she is reported to like the old way's and she to believes in big family and being at home with kids all the time"... - MOTOOPI aka WOUNDED BEAR


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