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Conflict And Struggle

Police try to get Indians on force
Prejudice possibility cited

Saskatoon Star-Phoenix
May 8, 1972 p.3

Police Reporter

The Saskatoon police department has been trying for years to get some men of Indian origin on the force, says Lieut. T.H. Guest, police personnel director.

"Last year there were 186 applicants for police constables, eight were accepted but not one Indian applied," Lieut. Guest said.

"In the past some Indians have applied but were turned down because of criminal records, poor education, heavy drinking problems, or they weren't up to physical qualifications."

"The force will even lower its standards in maybe one or two areas if an Indian applicant measures up in other areas," he said.

Lieut. Guest said an Indian on the force might be faced with problems of prejudice from other constables and to be considered an "Uncle Tom" by his friends.

"That problem of prejudice happens on every organization of this size, police departments included," he said.

"The RCMP had an Indian on their force a few years ago and he ran into problems from his friends mocking him. He had to be transferred."

There was one Indian several years ago, who showed brilliant qualifications. He was writing the exam and asked the surpervisor if he could be excused for a moment to put some more change in the parking meter.

The instructor told him there was no problem because the department would look after it.

The lad insisted, disappeared out the front door and never returned.

"We have sent out letters to the Chiefs of the 13 Indian reservations in Saskatchewan asking them to recommend any young men they feel are suitable for the job," he said.

The lieutenant said if there were 13 positions open and 13 Indians applied and qualified they would be hired.