D Division Reconciliation Story

Executive summary

Starting in November 2018, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) D Division began consultations with Elders and Leaders from organizations which represent all Indigenous communities in Manitoba. The circle of consultations included a very wide range in order to capture the full breadth and diversity within our Indigenous cultures. From Grand Chiefs and Grandparents to families and friends. From Elders and youth to Knowledge Keepers and truth seekers. During these consultations we asked for help, and Indigenous Peoples in Manitoba graciously shared their wisdom, stories, truths, and guidance, all of which have provided us with practical steps toward an ongoing process of reconciliation. This report attempts to capture what was learned.

Research methodology

It is challenging to find methods to bring together Indigenous ways of knowing and Western ways of analysis. The relational nature of Indigenous knowledge and wisdom recognizes the interconnectedness of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of individuals with all living and non-living things. This does not fit with Western research conceptualizations that insist on objectivity and separation. As such, Indigenous communities have long experienced exploitation by Western researchers. 

An Indigenous research approach is a process that places Indigenous voices, values, and epistemologies in the center of the analysis. It requires constant reflective attention and dialogue. Such an approach requires acknowledging that the sharing of Indigenous values, histories, stories, and culture is meant to benefit the RCMP, and that this knowledge must be treated with respect and care. If RCMP D Division is truly on a path to reconciliation, then we must be guided by an Indigenous approach to research. 

From the consultations

Through reflection on the consultations evolved four substantive areas modeled from the four realms of human existence: mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical. These four substantive areas, or Guidances, helped us to better understand what was shared during consultations. Ten Knowledge Sharing Themes from the consultations are found within these Guidances. Looking deeply at the guidance and knowledge that was shared led to seventeen Reflections. Guidances, Knowledge Sharing Themes, and Reflections, are brought back together through the collective story of D Division's Commitment to Reconciliation.

Guidance 1: For over a hundred years, the RCMP has been tasked with enforcing the laws of Canada, including the Indian Act, as well as upholding Canadian settler systems and institutions. The RCMP was therefore, instrumental in assimilating Indigenous Peoples into colonial culture.

 Guidance 1: Understanding the past and acknowledging truths (Mental existence)
Knowledge sharing theme Reflection
Acknowledge the past
  • acknowledge the past and apologize for the role of Manitoba RCMP in past wrongs
Understanding truths
  • show honour and respect for Indigenous cultures and traditions
Awareness of the perpetuation of inequality
  • confront and eliminate, racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia in the RCMP

Guidance 2: The medicine wheel is a circle divided into four sections which, though separate, are interconnected. The medicine wheel teaches us that everything is related and that the story of one cannot be understood outside of the story of the whole. There is great diversity among Indigenous Peoples that must be recognized, including diversity of experience, culture, history, language and tradition.

 Guidance 2: Diversity, relationships and connections (Spiritual existence)
Knowledge sharing theme Reflection
Recognize, understand and promote diversity
  • promote diversity in ranks through improved hiring practices
  • change RCMP culture to understand the diversity of Indigenous Peoples and traditions
Relationships and community engagement
  • foster legitimacy and trust through greater community engagement
  • build respectful working relationships with Indigenous Peoples

Guidance 3: Sharing and learning have always been important in Indigenous communities.  In some Indigenous communities, sharing circles, or talking circles, are a traditional practice that allows the opportunity for each voice to be heard, respected and valued. During a sharing circle, people are asked to focus on expressing their own feelings and only the person with the "talking" piece can speak. This encourages listening and learning during sharing.

 Guidance 3: Learning and Sharing (Emotional existence)
Knowledge sharing theme Reflection
Training and orientation
  • develop training in conjunction with Indigenous Peoples
  • develop orientation packages for each community
  • create Indigenous language capacity within the RCMP
Share RCMP experiences
  • better communication and engagement with Indigenous communities and share RCMP experiences

Guidance 4: During consultations, First Nations Elders and Leaders had questions about existing RCMP programs and practices, including investigative services, as well as prevention and intervention programming. There was a suggested need for expanding community safety models to include Indigenous perspectives and solutions. They also indicated that they want the RCMP to be more accountable to Indigenous communities.

 Guidance 4: Action and change (Physical existence)
Knowledge sharing theme Reflection
Improve existing programs and practices
  • improve investigative practices
  • increase community prevention, intervention and education services
  • expand public safety models to include alternative models and Indigenous perspectives
  • better accountability to Indigenous communities and oversight by Indigenous communities
Deliver on initiatives
  • continue to work on and promote existing initiatives
Commitment to change
  • action new initiatives towards reconciliation

D Division's initiatives: In progress, proposed, and under development

We have listened carefully to what First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Peoples in Manitoba have said to us. We have reflected and looked deeply into their wisdom and guidance in our journey towards reconciliation. The drum and medicine wheel provided us with four guiding areas and ten knowledge sharing themes which gave structure and signposts to our plan to move forward:

  • Understanding the past and acknowledging truths
    • acknowledge the past
    • understanding truths
    • awareness of the perpetuation of inequality
  • Diversity, relationships and connections
    • recognize, understand, and promote, diversity
    • relationships and community engagement
  • Learning and sharing
    • training and orientation
    • share RCMP experiences
  • Action and change
    • improve existing programs and practices
    • deliver on initiatives
    • commitment to change

We will consider all areas of knowledge and bring the perspectives together through the collective story of D Division's Commitment to Reconciliation. The following is a list of D Division's proposed, and in progress, initiatives:

  • working closely with Indigenous Elders and Leaders to better understand RCMP protocols, and the underlying rationale for those protocols
  • continuing all initiatives already in progress
  • ensuring that D Division will maintain a family room for the families of MMIWG, Project Devote, and investigators, to use
  • ensuring the proper use of Indigenous symbols and traditions
  • enhancing the Rural Crime Watch and Crime Stoppers Programs
  • developing additional educational programming on gangs and drugs for Indigenous communities and schools through Crime Prevention Services and Indigenous Policing Services
  • continuing work on the First Nations Outreach Community Pilot Project
  • continuing to advocate for an enhanced operational Community Mobilization Team to provide specialized crime prevention, intervention, and education, in communities that need it most
  • continued development of an intervention and innovation unit to examine, research, and implement
  • best practices in reducing violence towards women and children
  • revitalization of exploited persons presentations
  • working with the CO's Indigenous Advisory Council to develop greater oversight and accountability, in support of the D Division Reconciliation Story
  • continuing to work with the community justice forums on Restorative Justice initiatives, and with the provincial coordinator, as it relates to D Division's Restorative Justice Plan
  • continuing to work on the MMIWG Report recommendations and finding ways to implement recommendations and calls to action in D Division RCMP, including addressing the following at the divisional level:
    • Core Policing Functions – enhancing and improving investigations, prevention, education, Indigenous units and policing
    • Police Administration and Operations – enhancing victim services, recruiting and retention, advisory committee and oversight, research, and reporting
    • Reconciliation, Communication and Partnerships – improved communication, reconciliation, and meaningful partnerships
  • supporting National RCMP Vision 150 objective of providing leading edge policing services
  • addressing employee misconduct immediately, and swiftly, when it arises, and continuing to enforce RCMP Code of Conduct.

The list will be added to, and revised over time, based on the direction and guidance we receive from Manitoba's First Nation, Inuit, and Metis Peoples. The four substantive areas for reconciliation, and the proposed initiatives, are at various stages of development.

The next chapter

D Division's Reconciliation Story does not conclude here; it is a living document. We will take what we have learned and go back to our First Nations, Metis and Inuit, Peoples.  We will present them with this living document, and ask them if we are on the right path. We will, once again, seek their help to show us the way, and we will listen and reflect deeply on the wisdom they graciously provide us. We will not stop at reflecting deeply; we will also act and continue to engage, to evaluate our growth together. We will take concrete steps towards reconciliation based on the lessons we learn. Together, side by side, we will move forward in our story of reconciliation.

A copy of the Reconciliation Story in its entirety is available by contacting Manitoba RCMP Community and Indigenous Policing Services by email: RCMP.DCIPS-DSPCA.GRC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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