Heiltsuk Nation – The Heiltsuk Nation and Maxwell Johnson are disappointed by the secret and exclusionary process that the Vancouver Police Board and VPD have carried out to consider a new handcuffing policy. This type of colonial top-down decision making does not support reconciliation. “Neither the nation nor the complainants were:
- advised that the board had conducted an extensive examination of all VPD training relevant to Indigenous cultural competency;
- consulted about their views on the policy;
- asked to consider the appropriateness of the external consultant;
- told who the external consultant is.
“The nation and Maxwell Johnson were kept in the dark about this policy review until yesterday (Oct. 20, 2021) when we were told there would be a Vancouver Police Board meeting to review the policy today. “Had we been consulted, we would have told the board that there needs to be components placed within this policy that address cultural safety, which is an important part of addressing systemic racism. These include police actively considering their actions given:
- the history of racial profiling when dealing with Indigenous peoples
- given stress and trauma that is caused to Indigenous peoples when having to deal with the police at all, and
- given the fear of being disbelieved, misidentified, and victimized that Indigenous people feel when having to deal with the police
Police need to stop and check their assumptions when dealing with Indigenous peoples.