RCMP Const. Heather Noon was a young Indigenous teenage girl being raised at Thunderchild First Nation, in northwestern Saskatchewan when, while watching North of 60, she first got the idea that she could become an RCMP officer.
“I saw the actress on there, she inspired me,” said Noon of Cree actress Tina Keeper. “As a First Nation woman, I looked up to that.”
Noon took part in the Aboriginal Youth Training Program one summer, and then went to university for a year before she made the decision to pursue her dream of becoming an RCMP officer.
Her first posting was “a little too close to home” in North Battleford Saskatchewan, for two years.
“It was a learning curve,” she said. “It was a challenge, but fun at the same time.”
Noon was then transferred to Lac la Biche, Alberta where she was stationed for five years. She went on to work the next 12 years in the Edmonton area in various roles, including Indigenous police services and recruiting at RCMP headquarters.
Besides a successful career in law enforcement, Noon is also a mother and has two sons, Jaimen, 23, who is currently at the University of Saskatchewan and Lucas, 19, who is playing Junior A hockey with the Camrose Kodiaks.
Now that her sons are grown up and on their own, Noon felt in was the perfect time to venture out on her own too, and “come to B.C. and live a B.C. lifestyle.”
Noon said she asked to be transferred to any isolated, Indigenous posting, and was offered a posting at Bella Coola.
“I accepted the challenge and I love it. It’s beautiful. The people are so welcoming, so warm and friendly.”
Noon was particularly struck by how people in the valley wave at each other while travelling on the roads, even to police officers.
“I’ve never experienced that before.”
The Nuxalk Nation has also been very welcoming, Noon said, adding she feels especially connected when children wave at her or come speak to her when she is out in the community in uniform as they did recently during the Bella Coola Valley Music Festival.
“I feel like I’m building relationships.”
During her career, Noon said she has always been open about her own struggles being an Indigenous woman, and becoming a single parent when she was in Grade 12. Noon said she had to live on welfare for a year and rely on the support of her parents before pushing forward with her career.
“When I tell my story, they’re surprised,” Noon said of people she’s met over her career. “It gives them hope. I went the long way.”
Noon notes her greatest accomplishments are the meaningful interactions and positive impact she has with people through her career.
“It makes you proud. I felt like I didn’t have a voice growing up.”
Noon plans to continue to use that voice to connect with the community around her in the Bella Coola Valley while enjoying the lifestyle the area affords, where she enjoys hiking, mountain biking and camping.
“That’s what I like.”
July 2021 marked one year that Noon has served in the Bella Coola Valley. Her posting is for two years.