Indigenous Canadian actress and writer Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, known professionally as Devery Jacobs, called out the American game show Jeopardy! for spreading misinformation on Monday.
This is a harmful piece of misinformation, @Jeopardy. The RCMP were created to control and assert sovereignty over Indigenous people and our lands — not to protect our communities.
I encourage all to look into the RCMP’s deeply racist past and present. https://t.co/ey8w2jX78R pic.twitter.com/qckI9tSPe9
— Devery Jacobs (@kdeveryjacobs) January 16, 2023
A clue on the game show claimed that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was created to clean up whiskey traders from the United States.
However, Devery Jacobs called out the show and said that the RCMP was actually created to "control and assert sovereignty over Indigenous people" instead of protecting communities.
In fact, both reasons are true.
According to Britannica, the RCMP, formerly known as the North West Mounted Police at its time of creation, was created for both reasons—to deal with the whiskey traders from the United States and to "pacify" Indigenous Peoples and maintain order in the new Canadian Northwest Territories.
"The original force of 300 men was sent to deal with traders from the United States, who were creating havoc among (Indigenous Peoples) by trading cheap whiskey for buffalo hides," the webpage reads.
However, it is also true that the Canadian paramilitary police force was established to maintain order following the transfer in 1870 of Rupert's Land and Northwestern Territory to Canada from the Hudson's Bay Company.
Following the purchase, Canada's first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, established the Mounties to resemble the Royal Irish Constabulary, a paramilitary police force the British created to keep the Irish under control
In an interview with the Global News, history lecturer Steve Hewitt said that the job of the Mounties was to "clear the plains, the Prairies, of Indigenous People" and to displace Indigenous people.
The mounted police's approach has often be characterized by historians as "benevolent despotism" to "legal tyranny". The police—sometimes forcefully—tried to apply Canadian law to First Nations.
Indigenous People who resisted were starved onto reserves. The federal government brought in the Indian Act and used Mounties to forcibly remove Indigenous children from their homes, sparking a residential school crisis that has been called Canada's "genocide", leaving generations of trauma.