The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) "V" Division in Nunavut, like other northern posts, exposes members to new adventures, peoples, cultures and languages. In light of this, "V" Division has developed a one day cultural awareness seminar for its members. This is presented by an Inuit member of the community who uses props, videos and practical discussions to ensure that RCMP members receive an orientation to the territory and acquire a basic knowledge of Inuit customs and cultures. This seminar helps to sensitize those who take the training to the cultural context of communities in Nunavut and increases cross-cultural understanding.
Inuit Perceptions aims to educate police officers, many of whom have had limited exposure to Nunavut, the territory's people and the Inuit world view. The seminar is designed to make police officers aware of the Inuit perspective, which is essential to advancing police-community relations and overcoming communication barriers that may exist. This initiative aims to reduce these gaps and establish mutual cultural understanding.
Community Policing Section
Inuit Perceptions is a cross-cultural initiative, informed by Inuit and community organizations who also participate in the sessions. The primary focus of the consultation and cooperation with Inuit and community organizations is the notion of Inuit self-governance, community empowerment and community engagement.
Inuit Perceptions began in 2004 and the current version was updated in 2011 and has been delivered in this format since then.
The Inuit in northern Canada possess a distinct culture and set of beliefs. There is a unique and intimate relationship between the RCMP and the people of Nunavut. An understanding of this Inuit culture and belief system is integral to providing effective policing services in Nunavut.
In 2003-2004, a member from the RCMP National Aboriginal Policing Services and a consultant developed the course Inuit Perceptions. Following a needs analysis conducted in 2011, an RCMP member in "V" Division volunteered their time to adapt the information for more local and practical application.
The original Inuit Perceptions pilot course was delivered in 2004 and in 2008-2009 an instructional CD was developed. In 2011, the course was updated and modified to include more frontline hands-on information. Since that time, an initial evaluation tool, a full-day training presentation and an introductory film have been developed. The next step would see an interactive online module created and made accessible through the RCMP Intranet.
The key intended outcome of the Inuit Perception seminars is to ensure employees in RCMP "V" Division who are not originally from the territory are able to identify and understand historical issues revolving around police-community relations in the North; understand some of the unique perspectives of the Inuit culture; and be better equipped to communicate with residents. RCMP members will be better prepared to work, live, integrate and understand the social context of remote and isolated communities.
Course evaluations and follow up have been completed, but not with community stakeholders.
The provision of effective police services in Nunavut relies on the development of positive relationships between the community and the RCMP members who are adapting to the local culture. The environment and history of the people of Nunavut is very unique. This initiative aims to improve this relationship by setting the stage for RCMP members to be properly introduced to the local community, culture, language and Nunavut’s unique circumstances.