The Nenqayni Deni "First Nations People" of Tŝi Del Del (Redstone) are part of the Tsilhqot'in Nation.
The Tsilhqot'in had laws, stucture and stability in their own way
utilizing the power of working together.
Despite all trials and tribulations, the Tsilhqot'in of Tŝi Del Del are determined
to carry on their culture today.
This community safety planning work reminded us that safety is everybody's responsibility.
Communicating with the community in a meaningful way on things like bullying or violence helps
ensure everyone in the community understands we are a nation that works together,
where we take responsibility to help each other feel safe.
To help my community members, you know, I strive for a better, healthy, safe community.
That’s my passion.
The Aboriginal Community Safety Planning Initiative supports Indigenous communities to identify
risks to community safety and develop their own Community Safety Plan, or what we refer
to as a CSP, to address those risks.
What makes this process different and effective, is that it is led by the community with guidance
and support from Public Safety Canada officials.
Aboriginal community safety planning is grounded in the understanding that healing
is an integral part of the journey.
The community-driven approach of CSPs ensures that the resulting safety plan addresses the
priorities identified by the community that are specific to their particular circumstances.
During the development of CSPs, the community also identifies their own strengths, assets,
and safety and wellness goals, so that community members can prepare for their role in the
journey toward a healthier and safer home and community life.
Community Safety Planning is not just writing a plan, rather, it is a long-term process
that starts by looking at where the community has been and reflecting on historical impacts.
It involves the community coming together to plan how to heal by sharing values and
taking responsibility to set and achieve goals that will make the community a healthier,
safer place to live and raise families.
This long-term work is planned, developed and implemented by community members,
which is why the community leadership needs to understand and fully support the process.
Our community started working on Community Safety Planning in about Spring of 2018.
We had already done other planning activities that covered topics like governance, education,
health and economic development.
But there are so many issues to work on, our leadership was really happy when we decided
to work with Public Safety Canada to focus on community safety.
We got a strong core group together that we call the Safety Committee.
People on our Safety Committee include:
the school principal, NNADAP worker, social development, a youth worker,
a language teacher, RCMP and me, the Nation's Band Manager.
Our workshops helped us agree on the top problems we wanted to address and what we can do ourselves
right away and what we need to keep doing to get to the future we want.
For example, we wanted to figure out how are we going to deal with bullying.
The school survey showed that many students feel bullied every day.
And bullying happens among adults as well.
One thing we did was to get a better understanding of what we mean when we say 'bullying'.
We then we wrote a one-page description of bullying that was included in our community
newsletter which was sent to all the homes to bring awareness to the problem.
We now have many action items in our Community Safety Plan such as communicating about
lateral violence, building a safe gathering place for community members with a fire pit,
looking into getting an ambulance or paramedic training, to emergency roads and many other things.
Our safety committee is going to keep working together so our community feels safer.
Throughout the entire process, you will have support from your Public Safety Canada liaison.
There will be plenty of phone calls as your liaison helps you bring together a Core Group
to work as a team.
Once you have assembled a team, you will be introduced to your facilitator.
Your facilitator is specially trained and paid for by Public Safety Canada to lead your
workshops and help guide you in the tasks between workshop sessions.
I am one of Public Safety Canada's facilitators trained in this unique Community Safety Planning process.
My job is to guide the core group through their journey before, during and after the workshops.
And to help create a good space where participants respect each other and have an equal voice
when we come together in the community.
Once I arrive in the community for the workshop we have all already done some preparing,
which includes obtaining mandate from leadership, building a team
and starting a list of the resources in the community.
We are then ready to dive right into some pretty interesting activities.
These activities are meant to help the team:
confirm their values and list their community assets
perform a historical scan and reflect on important moments for the community
set priorities, goals, and a vision of community safety and wellness
draw a path with clearly identified steps that are needed to make things happen
designate a person to be in charge for each activity
In the time between the workshops, I will also guide the core group through the important
tasks that they will have to take care of on their own, including:
updating the community’s leadership on progress,
holding community meetings to get the rest of the community’s input and interest,
and writing the whole story down in the form of a Community Safety Plan and Action Plan
There are usually some key parts to a Community Safety Plan but because the Aboriginal Community
Safety Planning Initiative is for all Indigenous people,
the final plans are unique to each community.
The Community Safety Plan may include:
Expression of the community's vision
use of traditional language
An explanation of the community’s approach toward community healing
Recognition of the community’s ties to culture and traditions
Agreed-upon community goals
Activities to support each goal
Timelines for the activities, and
A group or person responsible for carrying out each activity and the resources needed.
Some plans incorporate community photos and celebrations or drawn artistic interpretations,
some have attestations from youth and elders demonstrating what is important
to community and members.
The process itself is adaptable.
We can bring in culturally-appropriate translators to make sure participants are comfortable
communicating in their own way.
We have also involved youth from the schools to change the dynamic.
We often use the concept of the north star as a guide through the process but take into
consideration the community's opinion of what is most meaningful, such as maybe
a hunting tradition or family or living in real life.
Typically sessions incorporate traditional practices such as prayers, smudging,
pipe ceremonies, drumming, lighting the qulliq, singing, and whatever ceremonies
the community members want to bring to the workshop.
We bring paper and flipcharts but the community makes the workshops meaningful.
As an observer it is heart-warming to witness the generous spirit
and feeling of pride in the community expand.
One thing I have witnessed as a program development officer with Public Safety Canada, is how
different the outcomes of the CSP process can be for communities.
For example, when we talk about successes:
There is a community in B.C., situated along the highway of tears.
They took action around the safety concerns of their members that come
with outsiders and workers.
They developed a plan to communicate policies around the safety of community members including
women, girls, and youth with regard to hitchhiking along the road into town.
Public Safety Canada worked with one community with help from a gang intervention expert
to provide training and support their capacity development
to better respond to gangs in the community.
Once the mobilization and capacity are in place they will establish
a community watch program.
The watch group will act as an intermediary between
rival gangs, police and emergency responders.
In another example, the fact that a core group was created for our process allowed a community
to react immediately to the threat posed by truckers stopping at a newly opened truck stop.
Truckers were luring young girls with money or drugs in exchange for sex.
The community negotiated with the store, which then installed cameras on their site.
There is also an example of one community where the leaders stood up to lead by example.
They developed and signed a Community Safety and Wellness Accord, which officially committed them
to live a clean and healthy lifestyle to promote wellness and healing.
Once the CSP is developed, everyone should have a good understanding of the community's
priority challenges and the assets that can respond to these challenges.
With the completed CSP, the Core Group should feel better equipped to talk with partners
about solutions and Public Safety Canada can help, by bringing the plan to the attention
of other government departments.
I am Barb Martin, one of Public Safety Canada's facilitators.
I have had the opportunity to deliver the Community Safety Planning sessions from the beginning.
More recently, I have been involved in the next steps by facilitating discussions organized
by Public Safety Canada, where the community invites government partners
to help them implement their plans.
I have witnessed the establishment of new longer-term relationships and seen
communities strengthen internally, too.
When a community has a safety plan, it is a launching point for discussions on how we,
as partners, can work together, leveraging existing opportunities and resources.
When we get together to look at what the community needs rather than simply offering what we have,
we have the opportunity to build something much more custom-oriented.
Looking at a community's safety plan really gives you a sense of the people behind it.
It reminds us that government policies and programs do have an effect on human lives.
Being part of Community Safety Planning at the front end lets us hear directly from citizens
about local issues, concerns, and fears – which allows us to better target our ongoing efforts
to solve, reduce and prevent crime.
Policing isn’t only about enforcement.
It’s about people – strong relationships – and trust.
Safety planning is crime prevention at its very root.
The process brings police and community members together, and reminds us
we are all working towards the same goals.
You have now heard about the Aboriginal Community Safety Planning process from the beginning stages.
From the first conversation with Public Safety Canada,
obtaining commitment from leadership,
building a core group of dedicated community members
and then working with a facilitator over several months or more as you
engage with your broader community members,
review your history
identify assets and resources within,
set goals, and
build that important long-term vision through your Community Safety Plan.
Community Safety Planning has brought us from working in a fragmented way
with people putting in a lot of work from their hearts but little progress.
Now we are better organized and have a stronger team working together to achieve our safety
and wellness goals.
And I haven’t heard anybody say no, I don’t think want to be part of that.
Everybody wants to be more a part of this community.
And I see it from my directors that is involved in it.
That they really want to put their hearts in it for the community.
To show them that we’re going to keep moving on until we can help our Elders, our youth,
our women, our men, working together to provide help from each other.
I am very proud of my community.
I am proud of my council.
I am very proud to be living in this community, Esgenoopetitj.
Embarking on this journey may be an important step for your community as you plan for now
and for future generations.