Joining Hands With First Nations

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 3:09 p.m. June 10, 2015
Updated: 3:19 p.m. June 10, 2015

Officers joined hands with First Nations People to celebrate National Aboriginal History Month at the Wellesley Community Centre.

Officers and children holding hands
Constables Deborah Martell and Milton Ferguson take part in the Round Dance with students from the First Nations School of Toronto and Eastview Junior Public School

They were an integral part of the celebration that started with the grand entry and concluded with officers joining the community in the round dance at the June 10 event.

This is the second successive year the event was held at the venue in the 17-year history of the celebration with the police.

“What we are doing here today, besides celebrating, is building a bridge that will be the key to our success in policing this great city,” said Chief Mark Saunders. “As long as we can continue to build those great bridges, we will always have the opportunity of serving you the best way that we can.”

The annual Aboriginal Day celebration featured song, dance and drumming.

Photo Journal of Aboriginal Month Celebration

“It’s wonderful to see young people expressing Aboriginal culture through such inspiring and creative means,” said Toronto Police Servicers Board Chair Alok Mukherjee. “The singing, dancing and drumming are truly spectacular to watch and to hear. Through your art, your movement and your voices, you pay great honour to Aboriginal culture and heritage.”

A boy in aboriginal clothing dancing
A young student performs a traditional dance to the beat of drums

Brittney Cada, a First Nations School student, welcomed the opportunity to be part of the celebration.

“My grandparents and my mom didn’t get the chance to learn about their culture,” she said. “That is why my mother sent me to First Nations School to learn about my heritage. It’s important to recognize Aboriginal Day so that all Aboriginal people can feel a sense of belonging and pride in their communities.”

Dave Zimmer, the province’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, attended the event and brought greetings from Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Staff Superintendent Tom Russell and Steve Teekens, co-chair the Aboriginal Consultative Committee, where members of the community share concerns and work in partnership with police officers, were also present.

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