A series of Indigenous Policing Micro-Credentials is now being offered at Lethbridge College for public safety professionals. It’s broken up into six mini courses and can be completed online at the individual’s own pace. Trudi Mason, the Dean of the Centre for Justice and Human Services explains how these courses came to be.
“A couple years ago, the former chief of police of the Blood Tribe Police Service came to me and asked if I was familiar with the Rolf Inquiry. And I actually was not familiar with the Rolf inquiry. So that day he taught me quite a few things. And one of the things that he showed me was that in the 1991 recommendations from the Mary, the recommendations included that Lethbridge College would be involved in developing or helping educate police members who are policing on a nation to help them understand the Blackfoot culture and the uniqueness of policing on a Blackfoot nation.”
The report also specified that the college should take a leading role in bridging cultural differences. Mason says she then approached Lowell Yellow Horn, the Manager of Indigenous Services at the college, with the idea. Yellow Horn explains the importance behind offering these courses to safety professionals.
“There are going to be some barriers for anybody that comes into a police service role in First Nations community because there’s always the idea that these individuals won’t be from that community, and so they’re automatically in a deficit because they don’t understand the cultural environment. And so communication is automatically going to become a barrier. And so with this micro credential, we develop communication opportunities to learn the Blackfoot language and learn how to speak and greet people.”
Officials say the courses are not just for officers working in indigenous communities but anyone who works in the public safety field.