First Nations Elder Makes Beaded Name Tags for Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Shirley Kakfwi, an elder of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, loves to bead. Her community lives in one of the most remote parts of the Canadian Yukon territory, in a town called Old Crow, and Kakfwi has made them famous by supplying the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) with head-beaded name tags.

Shirley Kakfwi poses with a few of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers she has made name tags for. Photo Courtesy of

In a phone interview with the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, Shirley explained how she got connected with the RCMP, though she had to put down her bead work to take the call.

“They want it, I guess. That’s why I do it,” said Kakfwi. An officer stationed in Old Crow became good friends with Kakfwi and requested a name tag. The rest is history.

“One day, she just said, ‘Do you sew?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, lots.’ She said, ‘Make me a name tag with beads, using the RCMP colours,” Kakfwi told CBC.

“Then she wanted some more for her friends, and then she wanted some more for her workers, and it just went on from there.”

The name tags are small, and feature blue white and yellow beads. They’re inconspicuous enough that the officers are allowed to wear them on their uniform, and they do so with pride.

The name tags have become fairly famous among the RCMP and are worn with pride. Photo courtesy of

“That’s going to be lasting,” said Cpl. Pat Russell to CBC. “That’s a keepsake I’ll have for the rest of my career.”