OPP pledges to learn traditions of Delaware First Nation
Officers and Delaware First Nation sign memorandum on reserve
Ontario Provincial Police and band members on the Delaware First Nation made a commitment to put aside stereotypes and learn about their differences.
It's a new program to teach officers about the different traditions of people living on this reserve.
The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding, launching a new program for police officers.
The goal is to teach police about the history, traditions and way of life of Delaware people, which is something Chief Greg Peters hopes will help clear up some of the long standing stereotypes.
"They still believe we are alcoholics, they believe we are liars, they believe we are thieves, they believe we don't hold any Christian values," said Peters.
He thinks a change in mindset can't be learned from a book, but through storytelling and hands-on experience for the officers.
"We're trying to teach them that we're human beings and it's a two way street," Peters said. "That we could start to see the officers as human beings and I think that's what cultural sensitivity is all about."
The OPP said the lessons learned here will help strengthen the relationship between officers and people on reserve.
"When they understand a little bit more about the culture, about the traditions of the people I think it will help with just understanding and sensitivity towards the issues they may have here that they're being called to," said Chatham-Kent OPP Sgt. Brad Coulbeck.
Cst. Janien Belanger was also part of the training.
"I think it was very enlightening and it brings better awareness of the background of the Delaware people," she said.
Classes run through out the summer on the Delaware First Nation.
The OPP hopes every officer in the region will take the course, and then have it expand to other agencies, including victim and border services.