Round dance aims to build trust, understanding between First Nations and police
Fifth annual Calgary Police Service Round Dance focuses on Indigenous youth
Calgary Police Headquarters was pulsing Saturday afternoon with the rhythms of First Nations drumming.
The Calgary Police Service round dance is a cultural celebration to help build trust, understanding and relationships between police officers and the Indigenous community.
This is the fifth year the event has been held.
For Constable Cindy Provost, a 20-year member with the Calgary Police Service and the event's host, the round dance was a moving experience.
"This celebration really brings tears to my eyes. I'm so humbled and so grateful for the opportunity to share the best parts of my Blackfoot culture, our Indigenous cultures," she said.
She said she believes sharing these cultural experiences is an important step in reconciliation.
"I think it's time that we can come together and not only learn about each other's ethnic backgrounds, but learn how to celebrate each other, and I think that can pave the way for tremendous collaborative approaches to provide healing and wellness," she said.
This year's event focused on Indigenous youth and giving them an opportunity to connect with others the community and their culture.
A worthy trip for many
Provost said drummers came from as far away as New York to join in.
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Drummer Winter Skye Baptiste, 20, travelled from Maskwacis, more than 200 kilometres north of Calgary, to take part.
He said the round dance is just a step in police and First Nations communities being able to come together as people.
"It shows that we'll probably get along and maybe there won't be as many problems out there. It's a start," he said.
This was the first year the RCMP took part. Former Calgary police officer Trevor Daroux, who is now the RCMP's chief superintendent with national Aboriginal policing and crime prevention, came all the way from Ottawa.
He said these kind of community-building event allow people from different backgrounds to share in the First Nations culture, traditions and celebrations.
"It allows you the opportunity to build relationships and through those relationships, we can heal a lot of the past, but more importantly, we can build to the future," he said.
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With files from Terri Trembath