Welcome Symposium Participants

The purpose of this National Symposium is to bring together a diversity professionals to share best practices in First Nations Policing as well as how the Justice system can be transformed to reflect northern Saskatchewan First Nations cultures and community realities. Participants from across the country will hear stories, realistic possibilities, and Indigenous-based models that work.

The focus is on SOLUTIONS. We are counting on you to think hard throughout the keynote presentations, panels, and workshop sessions. Participants will have opportunities to share, ask questions and make recommendations.

First Nations Policing has existed in Canada for several decades. There are also Indigenous-based Justice court system initiatives and alternative sentencing models. In this symposium, participants will benefit from hearing what professionals have to say on what is working so that short and long term goals can be made in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.

In First Nations cultures, when spiritual, natural, and community laws were violated, the focus was on restoring the individual back into balance at the individual, family, and community levels. Banishment was a reality for harsh criminal offenses. Today, there is a need to look back within our cultures and bring these Indigenous law concepts out into the open so that we can begin to deal with the complex challenges in the Justice and Policing sectors. There will be opportunities to network and exchange knowledge. Mark your calendars and register early.

Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte

‘Tansi’ & Welcome Symposium Participants:

On behalf of Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC), our 12 First Nations Chiefs, and 28 reserve communities in northern Saskatchewan, I am pleased to welcome all participants attending the National Symposium on First Nations Policing and Indigenous Justice.

As the Grand Chief of PAGC, we are dedicated to excellence in the Justice and the Policing sectors. Our First Nations have been building capacity and taking over their own programs and services for many years. We have educated people in both modern and traditional ways and a growing youth population. There are many successes to share. There are also many challenges and issues especially in the area of Justice, Policing, and Corrections.

PAGC First Nations are making strides to work collaboratively and proactively with the Justice and Policing sectors. There is a definite need to make improvements so that our families can enjoy the same quality of life and safety available to Canadian citizens. The purpose of this symposium is to bring together a diversity of professionals and people to share ideas, lessons learned and best practices. I encourage participants to network, develop, and strengthen personal and professional relationships. The focus of this symposium is about solutions.

While there is a need for new models, programs, and services it is also important to note there is no need to reinvent the wheel in some areas. Modifications can be made and new models can be implemented based on bridging knowledge systems. Our Elders say we had our own Indigenous Justice systems that are rooted in our cultures and traditional values. This symposium is about learning from one another and also borrowing best practices that work.

I would like to acknowledge and commend the work of the organizers and volunteers who have made this symposium happen. Many thanks to the Sponsors who have donated funds and have demonstrated their commitment to First Nations who are trying hard to make improvements. Our Elders say the solutions and answers lie within our families and communities. We thank you for your recommendations and I hope that you will be able to take home fresh ideas to use within your own nations.


Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte
Prince Albert Grand Council

Vice Chief Joseph Tsannie

Welcome to all the participants who have registered for 2019 First Nations Policing and Indigenous Justice Symposium!

As Vice Chief of Prince Albert Grand Council, I have a vested interest in ensuring safe and healthy northern communities. The Symposium is one way of exchanging knowledge of best practices and lessons learned. It is by coming together and sharing with one another that will lead to solutions as we move forward in building our nations. We all know the issues and challenges from within our respective regions. There have been many studies and recommendations made for several decades. It is time to occupy the fields in policing and court systems that reflect our cultures, worldviews, values, languages, and modern realities.

Many thanks to all of our Sponsors. By supporting the symposium, you are supporting First Nations people build safe and healthy communities. According to statistics from 2016/17, Aboriginal adults made up 4.1 per cent of the Canadian adult population but represented nearly 30 per cent of incarcerated adults. Over-representation is even more pronounced for incarcerated youth, reaching almost 50 per cent overall and 60 per cent for females, who only make up eight per cent of the Canadian youth population. It is important to think about the root causes which are linked to colonization, residential schools, historic trauma, poverty, and economic marginalization.

Prince Albert Grand Council has taken proactive measures in different sectors. We have a healing lodge for incarcerated offenders that aligns with education, cultural, and spiritual programming that is needed to regain personal and community balance. However so much more needs to be done with support from municipal, provincial, and federal governments in order to address the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. I have always been taught that we need ‘boots on the ground’ and sustained action. There are communities that are doing really good work and so we need to share what is working and build on the possibilities.

We must think far back into our history and uncover our First Nations laws which we can use to complement modern policing and court systems. We need to think about restorative justice, mental health, and treatment as opposed to the overwhelming focus on punitive and adversarial ways of treating offenders. We have our own people coming out of the system more damaged, angry, and confused. It is overwhelming for us leaders as we want nothing more than to help our families and communities.

The Symposium for me is a ray of hope. I strongly believe the answers lie within our nations and most importantly within the minds of our Elders and the experts who have come to share their perspectives and experiences. Enjoy the Symposium and take back what you need for your own communities.

Marsi Cho!

Vice Chief Christopher Jobb

WELCOME TO THE PRINCE ALBERT GRAND COUNCIL’S 2019 First Nations Policing and Indigenous Justice Symposium!

As one of the Vice Chiefs of Prince Albert Grand Council, I bring greetings on behalf of our 12 First Nations the organization represents. Many thanks to the Elders, participants, sponsors and municipal, provincial, federal governments for the making this gathering a reality. The Symposium brings together key players that will share their views on what is needed to transform the policing and court system in northern Saskatchewan. The information will benefit other First Nations in both the urban and reserve communities across the country.

For the past several years, I have witnessed the wealth of knowledge within our respective nations. Every year we see First Nations youth graduating from high school and post-secondary institutions and making valuable contributions in society. Many of them are judges, lawyers, corrections and police officers. It is important to build on the strengths of our people as we take increasing control of programs and services within the Policing and Justice Sector. PAGC is committed to working with governments and general society to develop healthy and safe communities.

I grew up on Reindeer Lake in northern Saskatchewan. It is the home of the Woodland Cree and Denesuline peoples who have their own traditional laws that were once braided into every fabric of community life with strong links to the land. We never had jails prior to contact. We did not have locks on our doors. Strong values of respect, caring, honesty, and truth were reinforced in families and within day-to-day activities. These are the same spiritually imbued values that are important in the development of policing, courts, and corrections.

Transformative change is inevitable. However it will take ‘nation-to-nation’ collaborative effort and relentless political will and action to ensure First Nations are provided the necessary tools, knowledge, and appropriate long-term funding supports. I want to see our own First Nations police officers with first class training and the ability to teach what they know to non-First Nation police officers. We need to start with relationship building, listening to one another, and taking concrete steps to develop programs and services using sound decision-making and lessons learned.

I want to thank our symposium oversight planning committee and volunteers. It is not easy to coordinate these gatherings especially one that is national in scope. I hope the participants will take away thoughts, knowledge, and skills they can use to advance the transformation needed in policing, courts, and corrections. More importantly we need to hear your perspectives, views, and recommendations. Safe travels as you journey to attend and leave for home.

Mayor of Saskatoon Charlie Clark

It is my pleasure to welcome all of the attendees of the First Nations Policing and Justice Symposium to Saskatoon, located on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis Nation.

The presentations and learning of this conference will help to address some of the most systemic and serious human rights failures facing Canada today. The over-incarceration of Indigenous peoples is a multi-faceted issue that is both caused by and creates injustices and inequalities in our communities and our country.

The system is not only failing Indigenous peoples, but it is failing all of us. Our communities are enriched when all people are able to participate and contribute their skills and experiences, and that is why this gathering is so important because it is a means to learn from and with each other to improve the systems that are in place.

I wish you the best during your time here as you work with one another to address the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the calls for justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Mayor of Prince Albert Greg Dionne

On behalf of my team on City Council and the citizens of Prince Albert, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the National First Nations Policing and Indigenous Justice Symposium.

In the world of policing and justice we are in a period of great change and reconciliation. It is important we continue to work together, share information, and find solutions so that we can continue to see progress.

We must open our minds to new ways of delivering policing and justice and we must make it a priority that when we are discussing it, we are all inclusive of our population.

I would like to thank the participants who have traveled a great distance to participate in the Symposium. As well , thank you very much to the organizers of the Symposium for the dedication and time they have taken to make this special event possible.