Wikwemikong Tribal Police and NOSM University are now working together to develop a culturally-based, trauma-informed policing approach for Indigenous police services. This project has received $1,120,500 in funding from the Province of Ontario’s community safety and policing grant.
The initiative aims to improve community resilience related to the risk of addictions and human trafficking, train officers to better respond to trauma responses manifested by victims, as well as create trauma-informed, land-based Anishinaabe wellness support for police officers, first responders and victims involved with mental health, addictions and trafficking calls.
Staff Sgt. Scott Cooper, Acting Chief, Wikwemikong Tribal Police says that community police and health statistics indicate drug addiction—opioid use in particular—has dramatically increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The result is community concern for chronic drug-related and mental-health issues, family violence, loss of children into foster care, trafficking of women, crime, and vandalism.”
Staff Sgt. Cooper adds, “Historical consequences of colonial policies such as forced removal of children from their families and physical, sexual, mental, and spiritual abuse of generations of First Nations children in school systems has led to a heavy burden of intergenerational trauma in many First Nations communities. Wikwemikong is not an exception.”
Drawing on a network of NOSM University co-researchers, Dr. Marion Maar is the lead partner for evaluation, research and curriculum development. She says she is thrilled to be part of this innovative interprofessional project that intersects medicine, social services and the justice sector.
To support this project, Elycia Monaghan, a first-year medical student at NOSM University, has received a research award to undertake a literature review and assist with dialogues with Elders. Ms. Monaghan says her goal is to become Canada’s first Inuk psychiatrist and this project will help her gain a deeper understanding of mental health research.