My Why – Working as an Indigenous Person in the RCMP
2023-06-21 08:19 PDT
By Constable Tisha Parsons
I am Ojibwe, with family originating from Thunder Bay, Ontario.
I have had very few personal experiences with racism from being an Indigenous person while working at the RCMP. I recall attending a call for service, a ‘keep the peace’, and was approached by an Indigenous male who said to me, "I do not like police." I did not shy away from this comment and requested to know ‘why?’ When he stated, "Because I am Indigenous", I responded, "So am I." He did not believe me, so I showed him my Indian Status Card, and his demeanor towards me changed immediately. He started to ask questions about why I made the decision to become a police officer. I have never been embarrassed to share my story or my why.
I have had many pleasant experiences since joining the RCMP and have connected with many Indigenous people who I believe that if it were not for my background and life experiences, these people may not have had the confidence in the police to come forward to report traumatic events, such as assaults, sexual assaults, etc.
I have a family history with the usual trauma that is often discussed among Indigenous persons, and having this life experience, has enabled me to develop the empathy and compassion to be able to understand a person who may be apprehensive about reporting incidents to police. I believe I am trauma-informed and can relate to many experiences that a person who is Indigenous may experience.
I am still early on in my career, with just over 4 years of service. I hope to follow a career path within Indigenous Policing. I understand the actions of reconciliation are long term and I look forward to more Indigenous representation within the RCMP. I believe that change is only going to come from the inside and I trust that the work I do for the Ridge Meadows RCMP will help impact, strengthen and further develop the RCMP’s relationship with the local First Nations communities which we serve.
Cpl. Julie Klaussner
Media Relations Officer
Ridge Meadows Detachment
11990 Haney Place Maple Ridge, BC V2X 9B8
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