Let youth know they are meant to be here, and celebrate them while they're here

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 7:08pm


Image Caption

Cindy Provost, Aboriginal Liaison Officer with the Calgary Police Service


By Windspeaker.com Staff
With files from Jeremy Harpe, CFWE-FM


Invest in youth, said Cindy Provost, Aboriginal Liaison Officer with the Calgary Police Service. She’s glad that people invested in her.

Provost spent all of her childhood in southern Alberta, growing up on the Piikani reserve. She went to school at St. Michael’s high school in Pincher Creek, graduating with the same group of kids she started with in Grade 1.

She went on to pursue a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Lethbridge, but did not complete the program. That’s because she was successful in both of her applications to join a police force, one application with the RCMP in 1996 and one with the Calgary Police Service.

In fact, the CPS seemed to steal Provost away from under the nose of the RCMP. She had successfully made it through the entire RCMP process when fate intervened.

“What actually slowed my application down was their policy at the time. I had had surgery on my eyes, so I could meet the qualifications and requirements, and their policy at the time was I had to wait one year to see how the eyes adjusted,” she told Jeremy Harpe of CFWE-FM.

It was during this time that she became a summer student with the CPS, working under Dr. Reg Crowshoe from the cultural centre in Piikani.

It was soon discovered that she was an RCMP applicant, and it was then Calgary Police Chief Christine Silverberg, the first female police chief of a major city in Canada, who delivered the CPS application to Provost.

Provost sat in a tipi during a Justice Camp at the cultural centre transferring all the information from her RCMP file into her Calgary Police Service file, and within three months, Provost was hired by CPS.

Former Calgary Police Services Chief Rick Hanson is at the top of the list of those who invested in Provost’s future, she said.

Hanson “took a chance with his little girl from southern Alberta and the Piikani reserve, and together we were able to see something that was more important than both of us, and that was actually to invest in young people, invest in youth, and provide them with all of those opportunities that they require... to know that they are meant to be here, that they are celebrated while they’re here, and that they have an opportunity,” said Provost.

She wants youth to understand that there are a lot of people from their own communities and the broader community that are ready to lend a willing hand to help young people be successful.

Never turn away when help is offered, she advised, “and also, don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

She wants parents and caregivers also to know that there are resources and organizations available to help and questions are always welcome.

Provost considers herself a role model. “I’m actually very honored to be sitting in this place of influence,” she said.

It’s “the culmination of a lot of different people coming together and exploring where we intersect and how we can actually best contribute back to the community.”

She says she has had many role models in her own lifetime, from her culture and community and from her peers in the police service.

Provost in entering her seventh year of serving on the Calgary Stampede board of directors, but her involvement with the Stampede has been part of her operation of duties since 2006.

The Calgary Police Service has built a relationship with the Stampede and has been in the village since 2000.

“We actually have our own Calgary Police Service tipi and (is) considered an invited guest into the village,” Provost said.

And then the involvement grew to “not only being part of the village family that celebrates and acknowledges the Treaty 7 culture”, but now to have the opportunity through the Calgary Stampede to learn about every one of the programs, the community spirit, the investments made into the community and the youth.

“It’s been an awesome experience.”