The Delta Police Department (DPD) wishes to express its deep respect for the traditional territory of the Tsawwassen and Musqueam First Nations.
Sept. 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day dedicated to honouring the Indigenous children who never returned home and showing solidarity with the survivors of the Residential School System, as well as their families and communities.
The DPD is dedicated to upholding the significance of this day throughout the year by fostering a safe environment and approaching interactions with the Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) with a trauma-informed approach.
Our collaboration with the TFN operates on a foundation of community-based policing. This approach involves nurturing connections by actively engaging with the community, participating in elder and community events, and embracing Indigenous culture. We acknowledge that historical, social, and economic factors have contributed to intergenerational trauma, and we recognize the importance of respect in establishing healthy, reciprocal relationships.
To equip our police officers with the necessary knowledge and understanding, the DPD participates in specialized training on the TFN and Indigenous culture.
Our officers have received lessons from Katie Alexander, the TFN Health and Social Services manager, and Crystalynn Gurniak, TFN Director of Member Services. These visits included tours of TFN Lands and traditional meals prepared by TFN elders. These first-hand experiences foster a deep connection and a profound appreciation for Indigenous culture.
Const. Sarah Glen, who has worked on TFN Lands, participated in a traditional Indigenous Brushing Off Ceremony where an elder used cedar boughs to cleanse negativity. Inspired by this experience, Const. Glen collaborated with the TFN to host Brushing Off Ceremonies for other police officers and DPD staff. These ceremonies not only provided insight into Indigenous traditions, but also underscored the spiritual benefits of the ritual.
Throughout the DPD, our team continues to gain increased exposure to TFN’s culture and traditions through conversation, and community engagement efforts.
An internal groundswell of respect for the resilience and willingness of the TFN people has emerged and will continue to grow. The DPD is fully committed to nurturing its relationship with the TFN, approaching policing with a trauma-informed perspective, and operating from a place of appreciation, compassion, and understanding.
On Sept. 30, we stand in solidarity with our TFN friends to recognize Truth and Reconciliation and to pledge our unwavering support in building a stronger, more just future together.