The Contradiction, and Direction, for Indigenous/Police Relations

Tuesday, Nov 05, 2019

1:30pm - 3:30pm

Lecture by:
Kelly Laurila

There are lots of conversations happening nation-wide about reconciliation; what it means, and if it can ever happen in the face of so many ongoing injustices continuing to be lived by Indigenous peoples. One thing that is true is that Indigenous and Settler peoples do not live the same lives and they cannot be assured of receiving the “same” when it comes to policing services. Many people in society are able to say that the police are there to protect and create safety. They might even say, “I can expect when I call the police that they will respond quickly and effectively to resolve my concerns and needs.” Contrastingly, Indigenous peoples experience disproportionately higher numbers of violence, underprotection, mistrust, and low confidence in police interactions and responses to calls for help. Their story is likely, “don’t call the police” and “never get into the back seat of a police cruiser.” Examining the ideology that embeds policing policies and practices (as with all societal institutions) reveals systemic colonialism and racism. Is change possible? I believe so; but it will require seeing the humanity in one another, challenging preconceived notions and assumptions about Indigenous peoples, and learning what one did not know.

About The Lecturer

Kelly Laurila

Kelly Laurila – Lecturer, Police Relations with Indigenous Peoples in Canada, Public Policy and Indigenous peoples in Canada, Reconciliation: Implications for Settler Peoples, Renison University College; Critical Indigenous knowledges in Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University.
Kelly Laurila is of Sáami Indigenous (Northern Finland) and Settler Irish ancestry. She is a Sundancer, songcarrier of an Indigenous women and girls’ drum circle for 14 years, facilitator of community outreach engagements of song and education pertaining to Indigenous/Settler relations, and facilitator of circle pedagogy and dialogues pertaining to Indigenous/Settler relations. In Fall 2018, Kelly successfully defended her doctoral dissertation pertaining to Indigenous/police relations and she is actively pursuing teaching opportunities within postsecondary education.
From her own journey of struggle to reconcile her Indigenous and Settler ancestry and close to 27 years of lived Anishinaabe experiences, Kelly has found a place of compassion that enables her to dialogue with Settler peoples. Learning about the history and ongoing injustices that Indigenous peoples experience is challenging and it can contradict the history that one has known in Canada. Kelly endeavours to create a space that encourages individuals to listen, understand, reflect, question, and imagine a way forward in the reconciliation process that is underway in Canada.