Canadians celebrate National Indigenous History Month in June to honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is also an opportunity to recognize the strength of present-day Indigenous communities.
On June 5, the Toronto Police Service’s Community Partnerships & Engagement Unit – Aboriginal Peacekeeping along with the Aboriginal Community Consultative Committee hosted an event at the Wellesley Community Centre to mark the celebration.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders joined Service members at the event that featured song, dance and drumming.
“Our history doesn’t define us, but what it does is gives us an opportunity to understand why we are here right now and the journeys that have been taken to get us here,” he said. “If we have a better understanding of our history, it gives us a better opportunity to know where we need to go. This is critical and that’s why we are here today. When we have these months, it is not to say we never talk about our history. But once we dedicate a month, it gives us a better platform.”
The Service’s Aboriginal peacekeeping Unit has been in existence for 27 years.
Saunders said the unit is a vital part of the Service.
Toronto Police Services Board Chair Andy Pringle also attended the celebration.
“This is such a special occasion as we honour the beauty, the vitality and the spirit of the Aboriginal culture and history in this city and in this country,” he said. “As we celebrate today, we are reminded of the great importance of the relationship between the police service and the public. This crucial partnership must be fostered and it must be celebrated. Indeed at the core of our modernization philosophy is the concept that we are dedicated to delivering police services, in partnership with our communities, to keep Toronto the best and safest place to be.”
Pringle said the Board is proud of the Aboriginal Peacekeeping Unit and the important role it plays in the community.
“The Unit works proactively to improve access for community members to policing services while building and fortifying constructive and meaningful relationships,” he added.