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K Division Reconciliation Strategy (2019-2024)

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There is an emerging and compelling desire to put the events of the past behind us so we can work towards a stronger and healthier future. The truth and reconciliation process as part of an overall holistic and comprehensive response to the Indian Residential school legacy is a sincere indication and acknowledgment of the injustices and harms experienced by Indigenous people and the need for continued healing. This is a profound commitment to establishing new relationships embedded in mutual recognition and respect that will forge a brighter future. The truth of our common experiences will help set our spirits free and pave the way to reconciliation.

-Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada-

Background:

The RCMP K Division continues to build strong, lasting and respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples in Alberta. Reconciliation provides a pathway based on; the recognition of the rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. Building on this foundation we commit to moving forward to better serve Indigenous communities. Earning the trust and confidence of Indigenous Communities in Alberta remains a top priority for the RCMP in K Division. The first step will be to hear the voices of the communities we serve. Through open communication we can ensure community needs and community expectations are being met. Serving as the communities desire us to serve will ensure relationships are strengthened, where they exist, and new relationships built where they do not. It is through this community led approach that we will strive to earn the trust and confidence of the First Nations, Metis and Inuit people.

Consultation:

RCMP K Division is working with Treaty Six, Seven and Eight, The Metis Nation of Alberta, The Metis Settlement General Council and the Inuit Cultural Society to explore new ways of working together and share ideas around moving forward together in reconciliation. Theses discussions represent the more than 260,000 Indigenous people living in Alberta.

The discussions were community-driven and a direct response to the distinct and unique needs/interests of each First Nations, Metis and Inuit community in Alberta.

Consultation efforts included:

  1. Conversations with the Commanding Officers Indigenous Advisory Committee.
  2. Communication between K Division Indigenous Policing Services (IPS) and Indigenous partners.
  3. Attending community information sessions hosted by Indigenous groups on reconciliation.
  4. Conversations with youth and Elders around reconciliation and working together on common ground.
  5. Meeting with leadership of Treaty Six, Seven and Eight, The Metis Nation of Alberta and The Metis Settlement General Council.
  6. Feedback: from what was discerned from consultation, we drafted a strategy which asked our Elders and Advisors to review and confirm our understanding of Reconciliation.
"I am happy to see that you came to us with a blank page and are building this Reconciliation strategy together."

-Metis Elder and Veteran, Walter Sinclair,
April 4, 2019 COIAC meeting-

Working together:

As noted in our consultation stage, building our strategy with Indigenous partners meant looking at our history including past activities and behaviors, understanding our strengths and weaknesses and looking to the future to build capacity and trust together. From the feedback we received, we created a definition and strategy, collectively.

Defining reconciliation as a division:

Reconciliation is acknowledging our shared history and acceptance of our past through ongoing education and awareness. We strive to build inclusive, respectful relationships through open and honest communication. Together we will build a stronger and healthier future.

Reconciliation objectives:

Suggested to us by our Elders, our Reconciliation strategy is based on the medicine wheel teachings. Theses teachings have been used by Indigenous people for generations for health and healing. These teachings embody all aspects of life (Spiritual, Physical, Emotional and Mental), nature, and mankind. It explains how all things are connected and equally important. Our strategy seeks solutions encompassed by these teachings to further our objectives in meeting the needs of employees and the communities we serve. Through this lens, we will strive to repair and establish relationships with Indigenous communities.

Objective #1

Work with community partners to ensure culturally sensitive supports are in place for victims, witnesses, offenders and police officers.

Specific actions we will undertake to achieve this objective:

  1. Ensure the feather protocol is in place for Indigenous communities and RCMP members. Similar to using a Bible in an affirmation, those testifying in court, or signing statements would hold their hand on the eagle feather while swearing an oath to tell the truth.
  2. Increase Restorative Justice Practices by investing in training and supports for our employees and partners.
  3. Cultural awareness training specific to the communities of Treaty 6, 7, 8 the Metis and the Inuit, hosted in various Indigenous communities.
  4. Creation of an Indigenous Protocol document specific to RCMP K Division.

Objective #2

Enhance awareness and education opportunities to support Reconciliation.

Specific actions we will undertake to achieve this objective:

  1. Indigenous Policing Services will coordinate and provide annual training for all staff.
  2. Support, encourage and provide opportunities for members to participate in Indigenous events such as Indigenous week celebrations, awards, community events and ceremonies.
  3. Expansion of Indigenous Perceptions training opportunities for all members of the Division, so they may become familiar with the unique history, culture and traditions of Canada's Indigenous peoples.
  4. Acknowledgement of traditional territory.
  5. Distribution of RCMP K Division Indigenous Policing Services Section annual report to share positive work being done in Indigenous communities.

Objective #3

Increase the representation of Indigenous people in RCMP K Division.

Specific actions we will undertake to achieve this objective:

  1. Build upon the Commanding Officers Indigenous Advisory Committee to provide further guidance and support to issues that affect Indigenous people in Alberta.
  2. Enhance the proactive recruitment of Indigenous people to join all ranks of the RCMP.
  3. Create opportunities to engage with and support Indigenous youth, such as youth advisory committees, Youth camps and cadets.
  4. Work toward recruiting an Indigenous Troop at Depot.

Objective #4

Increase efforts focused on Indigenous Community Engagement

  1. Restructure the RCMP K Division Indigenous Policing Services Section to better connect to Treaty and Metis Leaders. This will be accomplished by enhancing the current complement and decentralization to reduce geographical barriers. In turn this will increase time for community engagement and strengthen partnerships with Indigenous communities and stakeholders.
  2. RCMP members working in Indigenous communities will know who their local Elders are and seek these input and guidance as needed.
  3. Increased use of the Hub Model in Indigenous communities.
  4. New members policing an Indigenous community will be expected to design a CAPRA project to meet the needs of that community.
  5. Participate in community discussions around Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women findings/next steps.

National Reconciliation efforts:

The RCMP as an organization understands that Reconciliation is pivotal, given the culmination of the Truth and Reconciliation's "Calls to Action". The acknowledgement and apology for dire actions by the Federal Government and the RCMP, the greater awareness amongst Canadians to account for and respect Indigenous people, communities and culture as well as the findings of the MMIWG Inquiry, all require movement on these issues.

Commissioner Brenda Lucki is committed to administering a national RCMP Reconciliation strategy. This Strategy is based on the fundamental core values which all RCMP employees adhere to.

Moving forward:

How will we measure/define success within the context of our objectives in this strategy?

  • Increased engagement with Indigenous partners.
  • Identify and challenge systematic and/or procedural biases.
  • Eliminate biases within and outside of our organization.
  • Overseeing and effect change in the way we police Indigenous communities, including crime reduction and partnering to increase education, prevention, intervention and treatment to address ensure heathier communities.
  • Increased delivery of culturally relevant education and awareness.
  • Increased service to Indigenous communities and partners.
  • All employees have an opportunity to participate in cultural events and activities.
  • All employees are engaged in reconciliation efforts.

This multi-year strategy/approach to Reconciliation will be reviewed quarterly in continued consultation with Indigenous partners. This approach will be adjusted as needed to ensure constant improvement, or to address emerging concerns as we move forward together in trust and good faith.