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Justice (25-42)

RCMP, FSIN sign agreement to improve communication, safety in Sask. First Nations

May 31, 2024

Agreement discusses new public alert system, lines of communication and better transparency

A woman in RCMP red serge and a woman in a white jacket over a black top sit at a table and smile.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, left, and Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations third vice-chief Aly Bear sign an agreement Friday to improve communication between police and First Nation communities in Saskatchewan. (CBC News)

CBC Indigenous: The RCMP and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) have signed a memorandum of agreement meant to improve communication between police and First Nation communities in Saskatchewan.

The FSIN represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan.

“We see situations that happen such as James Smith Cree Nation and if there was a better response time, if there was better communication between our First Nations and the RCMP, something like that could have been prevented,” FSIN third vice-chief Aly Bear said Friday at a news conference in Saskatoon, where the signing took place. 

Eleven people were killed and 17 others were injured during a stabbing massacre at James Smith Cree Nation and nearby Weldon, Sask., in 2022. 

The agreement includes plans to implement a new public alert system, controlled by RCMP, meant to help First Nation communities look for missing or vulnerable persons — something the community asked for in the wake of the James Smith massacre. 

The agreement also lays out the intent to establish a “transparent internal police complaints process” to increase transparency. 

Another new initiative will set up a direct line of communication between local chiefs and high-ranking RCMP officials, with a goal of resolving issues without having to go through a long chain of command. 

A lineup of people holding ceremonial staffs and flags.
The RCMP and Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations signed the memorandum of agreement during a ceremony Friday in Saskatoon. (CBC News)

“We need to make sure that there are strong communications between our First Nations and the RCMP so that when there are serious situations, when there are emergency situations, that they are responding and that they’re protecting our people,” Bear said. 

She said the memorandum of agreement will help build the relationship between Indigenous communities and the police during a drug epidemic that has created fear among people living on First Nations. 

“We need to make sure that there is somebody to call and that we will be protected,” Bear said.

“Our people deserve to feel safe on our own land. We deserve to feel safe in our own homes and we deserve to feel safe with one another as non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples living together on this land.”

Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, the top-ranking RCMP officer in Saskatchewan, said First Nations leaders will know exactly who they can contact for assistance and how. 

“It’s really hard to put into words how important it is to be able to pick up the phone and have a conversation — as something is unfolding that may be a crisis situation — that you’re not introducing yourself for the first time, that you have a trusting relationship,” she said. 

Under this new deal, the RCMP and the FSIN are expected to meet regularly. The agreement is set to be reviewed every two years


Aishwarya Dudha, Reporter

Aishwarya Dudha is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan based in Saskatoon. She has previously worked for Global News and the Times of India. She specializes in immigration, justice issues and elevating voices of vulnerable people. She can be reached at