Police, First Nations meet to fix 'broken' relationship
Thunder Bay Police, OPP and Nishnawbe Aski Nation aim to help ease residents' worries
Posted: Jan 15, 2013 11:20 AM ET
Last Updated: Jan 15, 2013 12:56 PM ET
In an effort to build trust and bolster communications between First Nations communities and police, a forum on community safety will take place Tuesday night in Thunder Bay.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation has arranged the event in partnership with Thunder Bay police and the Ontario Provincial Police.Nishnawbe Aski Nation deputy grand chief Alvin Fiddler has said in the past First Nations people have many concerns about their interactions with police. A meeting in Thunder Bay tonight aims to help address those concerns. (Jody Porter/CBC)
Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said the meeting will also be a chance for police to update people on two investigations — one concerning a sexual assault on a First Nations woman, and the other, an allegation of police misconduct.
Fiddler said ongoing communication between NAN and police is crucial.
“I think you could almost say that the relationship is broken,” Fiddler said.
“But it's also our hope that, through dialogue and starting with this event … we can start to rebuild that relationship.”
Fiddler also said he hopes to see a broader discussion on community safety at tonight's forum.
"It's an issue for the whole city,” he said.
“That's why we selected the venue of the community auditorium because it's a gathering place for the community … We want to ensure that everyone feels safe in this community."
Fiddler also welcomes the police update on the two investigations.
"It's important that we provide that assurance to the students, to the families, to the leadership, to the community, that these are being treated very seriously, and that steps are being taken to look at those two cases,” he said.
Parents and leaders in northern communities have voiced concerns about students' safety in Thunder Bay.
The community safety forum begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium.
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