Saskatoon police officer releases book to give Indigenous youth a 'head start'
SASKATOON -- Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) Cst. John Langan is releasing his Iskocēs Tipiskak: A Spark in the Dark, a two-part book focusing on his life and Indigenous culture.
“My focus is young Indigenous people and want them to learn as much as they can. And maybe this book will give them a head start.”
Langan, 32, has served four years with SPS and is a reserve infantry sergeant with the North Saskatchewan Regiment.
He began writing his 260-page book last October.
“It begins with my mother because she endured a lot of domestic abuse. I lost my father when I was three,” said Langan.
The book reflects on his childhood which began in Kooseekoose First Nation, Sask. Langan attended 14 elementary schools and four high schools.
“The key thing that kept me going was I was raised in a very spiritual family.”
Langan’s story is filled with up and downs. When he was 13 his friends tricked him into helping with a break-and-enter. After the incident, he was put on the alternative measures program and had to help the victim’s family.
“They were involved with air cadets,” said Langan. “I went there on a Wednesday night, best decision I made in life.
“I told myself that I wanted to be my own role model. I didn’t have anybody else at that time. That’s when I had order, that’s when I had discipline.”
Langan goes into great detail about his family and what he had to overcome to get to where he is today. When he was 25 he would lose his stepfather who he called dad to complications with drugs.
“A lot of dark things that I put on to paper that I wouldn’t share with anybody else unless I really know them.”
Racism is another theme his book. He gives several examples including picture day when he was five years old.
Langan says a photographer told him to tuck his hair behind his head.
“My mom made my hair nice as she parted it knives, put it in nice leather ties to the end,” said Langan. “The photographer said boys aren’t supposed to have hair like that.”
At the age of 17, Langan left his home to go live with one of his brothers. He finished high school and took classes at Saskatchewan Polytechnic before enrolling at the University of Saskatchewan. At the time he was also enrolled in the Bold Eagle program with the army.
“I loved it, like I just knew that was for me, and I knew I wanted to go to university at the same time.”
Langan was studied Indigenous justice and criminology, where the seed was planted to become a police officer.
He enrolled in police college in August 2017.
“I know my dream came true and what I wanted to do. It’s a good job I enjoy going to work.”
In a testimonial about the book, SPS Chief Troy Cooper says: “An inspiring autobiography. Cst. Langan has found strength and purpose within his Indigenous spirituality; and through this book he generously shares that experience with us. It provides an education that is valuable in terms of understanding our community and also as an introduction to cultural ceremonies."
Iskocēs Tipiskak is set to be released July 21 and will be available at local book stores, Amazon, and on Langan’s website.