The Edmonton Police Service is in the process of forming a new Indigenous advisory council as it continues its work to make systemic changes to policing.
In a news release Wednesday morning, the EPS said it is recruiting community members to join the new Nîsohkamâkewin Council. Nîsohkamâkewin is Cree for “the act of helping,” the EPS explained.
The goal of the new council is to help the EPS address the inequities and barriers Indigenous people face, and develop and implement the best policing practices to address those challenges.
“It is imperative to have Indigenous voices in the process of making decisions regarding Indigenous people in any capacity,” said Christie Pace, program manager with Bent Arrow, a traditional healing society that has been serving Indigenous children, youth and families in the Edmonton area since 1994.
“The council will keep the Edmonton police accountable to the recommendations that make the most sense for our people, and it will also help us build and maintain relationships that are crucial to policing Indigenous people and the community as a whole.”
The council will responsible for advising on the implementation of policing recommendations from several national reports such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The EPS said it is committed to implementing the recommendations, which will make a difference in several areas of the police service, including missing persons, historical homicides, human trafficking and exploitation, as well as officer training.
“These recommendations are taken from a national context, and the council will help apply a localized understanding of how these recommendations will aid Indigenous-police relations within Edmonton,” said Andrea Levey, EPS Indigenous equity advisor.
“Together, we will build a plan forward to address the gaps and make systemic change, and the Indigenous community members and partners will determine the success and legitimacy of the work being done for these recommendations.”
The Nîsohkamâkewin Council will replace the previous EPS Indigenous Liaison Committee. The EPS is recruiting Indigenous community members with a diverse range of voices, perspectives and experiences. They should have experience with Indigenous culture, human rights and anti-racism work, the EPS said.
Those interested in the council can direct letters of interest to Levey at Nisohkamakewin@edmontonpolice.ca. The EPS said all applications will be reviewed by an Indigenous panel. The deadline for applications is Jan. 31, 2021.
Additional information on the Nîsohkamâkewin Council is available on the EPS website.
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