Orange Shirt Day

Pictured above is our Leadership on Orange Shirt Day 2019

 

Today is Orange Shirt Day. Orange Shirt Day is a day in which we are invited to wear Orange Shirts to create meaningful conversation and remember the devastating legacy and effects of Residential Schools in Canada. 

This day is both an opportunity for Canadians to acknowledge the impacts of residential schools and to commit to working towards reconciliation. The last residential school did not close in Canada until 1996. In Calgary nearly 35,200 people living in private households in 2016 self-identified as Indigenous (Hudes, Sammy. Calgary Herald, June 7, 2019.)  In Alberta we have the second highest number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls cases, representing 16% of all cases in the Native Women’s Association Database. When it comes to incarceration, the daily average of adult indigenous inmate population was represented at 39.2% of the total adult custody in Alberta in 2016-17.

In 2016 the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee (CAUAC), in its White Goose Flying report to Calgary City Council, asked the Calgary Police Service to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action in the following ways: 

  • To eliminate over representation of Indigenous people in the justice system.
  • To implement realistic alternatives to imprisonment (i.e., restorative justice). 
  • To address over-representation of youth in custody. 

It's clear that we still have a problem in our province that is rooted in the impacts of colonization. Indigenous communities are over-policed and under-protected.  

On Orange Shirt Day, let’s make sure that we disrupt the legacy of racism and violence towards Indigenous peoples by calling on the Calgary Police to address racism and colonization in our city. We are asking them to increase the number of Indigenous liaison officers employed by Calgary Police Service. The Truth and Reconciliation Research Action Team chose this action because increasing the numbers of Indigenous Liaison officers by creating a position in each police district will ensure better relationships between police and the Indigenous community. Increasing the numbers of Indigenous Liaison officers will also ensure that there is someone within each police district that Indigenous peoples can turn to when they experience crime or danger.

Please join us by writing to Chief Neufield and the Police Commission to ask for the creation of an Indigenous Liaison officer in each police district. 

Their email addresses and a sample letter are below – feel free to make the template your own by connecting it to your own beliefs and experiences.

Calgary Police Commission

cpced@calgarypolicecommission.ca

Chief Constable Neufeld

cps@calgarypolice.ca

 

Sample template:

Dear Chief Constable Neufeld and Calgary Police Commission,

For Orange Shirt Day today, we are asking that you support Calgarians as we move towards reconciliation and away from the over-policing of Indigenous lives, by creating a Indigenous Liaison Officer position in every police district in Calgary. 

In Calgary nearly 35,200 people living in private households in 2016 self-identified as Indigenous (Hudes, Sammy. Calgary Herald, June 7, 2019.)  In Alberta we have the second highest number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls cases, representing 16% of all cases in the Native Women’s Association Database. When it comes to incarceration, the daily average of adult indigenous inmate population was represented at 39.2% of the total adult custody in Alberta in 2016-17.

In 2016 the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee (CAUAC), in its White Goose Flying report to Calgary City Council, asked the Calgary Police Service to respond to the THR report’s Calls to Action in the following ways: 

  • To eliminate over representation of Indigenous people in the justice system.
  • To implement realistic alternatives to imprisonment (i.e., restorative justice). 
  • To address over-representation of youth in custody. 

Indigenous peoples are over represented in our criminal justice system and I believe that the move towards a creation of an Indigenous Liaison Officer role in every district will ensure a better relationship between police and the Indigenous community. This will also ensure that there is someone within each police district that Indigenous peoples can turn to when they experience crime and danger. 

I want to thank you for your recent work towards an anti-racism notice of motion and training practice, and I ask that you continue to commit to training officers in anti-racism, decolonization and trauma informed practices.


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