Reconciliation efforts continue between the Tl’etinqox (Anaham) First Nation and the RCMP after friction developed between the two parties during the 2017 wildfires.
When the Tl’etinqox community decided to defy an evacuation order, an RCMP detachment officer threatened to remove children from the community and was met with resistance from Chief Joe Alphonse.
In April 2018 representatives from both parties participated in a healing circle in the Tl’etinqox community that was initiated by both parties.
Twenty-one people from Tl’etinqox and 13 RCMP members attended and were led by Chastity Davis, a facilitator from Vancouver.
Alphonse and RCMP Deputy Commissioner Butterworth-Carr recently met in the community recently and said the two sides have a positive working relationship now and are collaborating to deliver community safety service and are committed to additional meetings.
“The community of Tl’etinqox always stood on the mandate of creating a safe community for our community and always viewed the relationship with the RCMP as really important,” Alphonse said. “However, the 2017 incident brought to light the lack of training that RCMP officers receive in this area.”
Conducting enforcement in a rural area is different than in an urban area, he added.
“We felt we needed to ensure that this doesn’t happen again and that the entire RCMP is brought up to speed on Indigenous issues.”
Butterworth-Carr said the RCMP’s relationships with Indigenous governments, citizens and communities are paramount to mutual success.
“The RCMP remains committed to improving our training, understanding and respectful acknowledgement of our Indigenous governments and communities’ right to self-government, self-determination and the veracity of complex rights and titles,” she said. “Through our ongoing communication and commitment with Chief Alphonse and the Tl’etinqox Government we will continue to foster a positive relationship based on trust and mutual understanding that will allow us to provide a better police service to the community.”