For decades, there have been growing calls to address systemic Indigenous racism in Canadian police institutions. However, progress in this area has remained troublingly slow as recent movements have had little impact on institutional reform. Indigenous Peoples are left disproportionately victimized and overrepresented in the criminal justice system due to discriminatory policing practices. In recent years calls for institutional reforms have been amplified with the completion of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as well as countless other scathing reports from oversight bodies into racism within municipal police services. Given this newfound urgency, municipal police services have begun to explore new ways to reconcile their relationship with Indigenous Peoples. Although, there is no standard approach to guide this new challenge of institutional decolonization within policing.
This paper explores how institutional approaches contribute to the maintenance and reduction of systemic racism within police agencies. Using comparative case studies on the institutional approaches of the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service and the Thunder Bay Police Service, this paper attempts to outline a standard through which municipal police services can more effectively address systemic racism and reconcile their relationships with Indigenous Peoples. The approach used by the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service demonstrates that municipal police services would benefit from incorporating community-based and Indigenous perspectives and approaches to reduce systemic racism and move toward institutional decolonization.
Dr. R. Major
Dr. A. Smit
Master of Arts