Ceremonial meeting a step towards healing, Poundmaker's Lodge says
Meeting comes after the treatment centre alleged its members suffered racial profiling at St. Albert bank
Representatives from Poundmaker's Lodge say a ceremonial meeting on Wednesday with RCMP and TD Canada Trust has led to a commitment from all sides to work together to build stronger relationships.
The meeting came after Poundmaker's Lodge — an addictions treatment centre in St. Albert that uses First Nations traditions, culture and spiritual beliefs in its counselling programs — alleged that some of their clients were racially profiled by staff at a St. Albert TD branch on Feb. 5.
Staff at the bank called police after a customer reported two people outside the bank talking about the bank's security alarm. Three RCMP cars arrived, but departed after minutes, after establishing there was no threat.
The two people outside the bank turned out to be clients of Poundmaker's Lodge.
Representatives from TD denied accusations of racial profiling, and apologized for any "misunderstanding."
TD staff and members of the RCMP approached Poundmaker's Lodge this week with an offering of tobacco for clients and discussed how to move forward, the treatment centre announced in a statement Friday.
"We feel that by utilizing our cultural approach, we believe we achieved a positive result which will further enhance healthy relationships with mainstream institutions," Poundmaker's Lodge executive director Brad Cardinal said in the statement.
"This experience has also allowed for discourse amongst our community and for our community to be cognizant of interactions and know that there are positive avenues in which we can move forward in reconciliation."
Lisa Colangelo, vice-president of TD in Edmonton, said in a statement the ceremony involved "... a lot of listening, respect, understanding and commitment by all participants to move forward," and that the company will learn from the experience.
RCMP Inspector Honey Dwyer echoed Colangelo's statements, calling the meeting an "honour and privilege."
"I was touched by the emotions expressed by all, and look forward to formalizing an action plan that continues to build upon this first step," Dwyer said.