The great niece of Alex Decoteau can’t understand why anyone would want to steal and destroy a commemorative plaque honouring his contribution and sacrifice as a soldier.
“It doesn’t speak well of people who would do something like that,” said Izola Mottershead, 86, upon hearing Decoteau’s plaque was one of about 17 stolen from the north Edmonton neighbourhood of Griesbach.
Decoteau, who was killed in the First World War, has a street named in his honour in the community, a former garrison.
“His story is one that goes on and on and on, he’s very memorable,” Mottershead said.
“It’s a pitiful thing to do. I’m very disappointed and the families of all those men will be very disappointed too,” she said.
As the first ever Indigenous police officer in Canada, Alex Decoteau is well known across the country.
After joining the military he died at the age of 29 fighting in Passchendaele in 1917.
An Edmonton park in his name honours his long list of achievements which include competing in the Olympics as a long distance runner.
The theft will upset many in the Indigenous community, said Christine Frederick from Alberta Aboriginal Arts.
“I think it’s a real tragedy that somebody has vandalized one of the few tributes that is here in the city of Edmonton to an aboriginal achiever,” Fredericks said.
Griesbach community league president Brad Tilley said his children learned about Decoteau’s legacy from reading the commemorative plaque.
Edmonton police recovered the stolen plaques Wednesday when a scrap metal dealer contacted them after seeing news reports about the theft.
Police would not say how much money changed hands for the metal as the amount is part of the investigation,…