On Jan. 27 the RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and President of the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada (PIWC) Rebecca Kudloo signed an agreement to formalize the working relationship between the two organizations, signing the Pinasuqatigiinniq Agreement.
The agreement confirms that there will be formal teleconferences twice per year between the two organizations’ leadership as well as regular teleconferences between Pauktuutit and RCMP Commanding Officers in the NWT, Nunavut, and Newfoundland (G, V and B Divisions). Representatives from Pauktuutit will contact the Commanding Officers directly as required.
According to the release an evergreen work plan will be jointly developed to outline mutual goals, priorities and deliverables, which will be signed annually by the organizations’ respective leaders. Annual versions of the work plan will include a status update on any deliverable items from the previous year.
The agreement states: “This document is made in the spirit of reconciliation, with a shared goal of urgent action and collaboration, to effect meaningful, lasting change and improve both the protection and safety of all Inuit women, children and gender-diverse persons.”
The leaders of the two organizations expressed optimism in light of this agreement.
“I look forward to continuing the RCMP’s work with President Kudloo and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada on projects and programs aiming to reduce violence against women, children and gender-diverse persons,” said Lucki.
Kudloo noted this “agreement supports progress toward an urgently-needed cultural shift in RCMP policing practices in Inuit Nunagat. Systemic racism is a reality in Inuit women’s encounters with the police. For example, women experiencing domestic violence often feel further victimized when they come into contact with police.”
On Jan. 16 PIWC published a report that Inuit women that calls on the RCMP to reverse the failed strategy of assimilation and to follow a decolonization process, detailing 15 recommendations to shift RCMP from a position of being outsiders to being seen as community allies.
“Decolonization means reversing the colonial strategy of assimilation,” said Dr. Elizabeth Comack of the University of Manitoba’s Department of Sociology and Criminology, who partnered with Pauktuutit on the study.
“It is police and other social service agencies that need to assimilate into Inuit ways.”
Reccommendations made by Pauktuutit
• Culturally competent policing: Investments must be made to ensure that police officers
receive ongoing, community-specific, in-depth cultural competency training on Inuit history and culture.
• Inuit advisory committees: Composed of elders, community leaders, and cultural facilitators to ensure that police practices and protocols are in line with IQ principles and foster mutual understanding and respect between the community and the police.
• Trauma-informed policing: understanding of relevant trauma and its indicators, will better position officers to de-escalate situations, build more positive relationships with the community.
• Vicarious trauma: Police officers should be encouraged to seek emotional support and guidance from community elders, counsellors, or natural helpers.
• Gender-based violence training: ongoing, specialized education on dynamics of gender-based violence.
• Gender-based policing protocols: Police protocols, including investigative strategies to respond to sexual assault and domestic violence, must be evaluated and revised to ensure that the police are responding in a culturally appropriate and victim-centred manner.
• Female officers: A female police officer present or leading, the statement-gathering process.
• Gendered violence prevention liaison: Community-based, dedicated support person tasked with co-ordinating access to resources offered by police and other social service agencies.
• Community integration: Develop protocols for introducing new officers to the communities they serve to reinforce officers’ accountability to those communities and facilitate the integration of officers.
• Duration of postings: Posting contracts should be extended (beyond the current two-year posts) to sustain positive rapport between Inuit community members and regular service members.
• Inuit civilian positions: Inuit must be employed at each police detachment, and in a number of capacities including interpreters and translators; cultural facilitators; special constables, aides, community patrols and/or peacekeepers; administrative support.
• Police accessibility: Funding must be immediately provided to address the lack of formalized and local police (and emergency services) dispatch systems across Inuit Nunangat. There must be Inuktut speakers available to answer (emergency) calls at all times.
• Community education: Create Inuit Nunangat-specific, multilingual public education programs in education about the criminal justice system and education about gender-based violence.
• Community engagement: Through planned activities and sharing of positive encounters via social media• Federal government responsibilities: Given that policing is an essential service, the Government of Canada must ensure that all regions of Inuit Nunangat have effective and substantively equitable policing and victims services.
Source: Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada: Addressing Gendered Violence Against Inuit Women