(Shifting Indigenous Frontline Tactics)
Fostering an environment of greater cultural understanding and sensitivity towards Indigenous peoples and communities.
What is SHIFT?
The Shifting Indigenous Frontline Tactics (SHIFT) initiative was created by Algoma University as a customizable training program that aims to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities by fostering an environment of greater cultural understanding and sensitivity towards Indigenous peoples and communities.
SHIFT curriculum has been developed by Indigenous community advisors, faculty and staff from Algoma University as part of its Special Mission to “cultivate cross-cultural learning between Aboriginal communities and other communities”.
Under the supervision of local elders and community members, SHIFT aims to effect positive change within Sault Ste. Marie, while promoting safe interactions between police personnel and Indigenous peoples.
SHIFT emerged through a partnership between Algoma University and the Sault Ste. Marie Police Services (SSMPS).
SSMPS is committed to working in collaboration with Algoma University to support ongoing efforts to build equitable, respectful and trusting relationships between Police and Indigenous peoples.
The primary goal of SHIFT is to bridge the gap between Police and the Indigenous Community, while maintaining a sensitivity to cultural backgrounds and a broader understanding of the unique needs of the community.
Through the analysis of reports such as the “Broken Trust Report” and other related literature, Algoma University, local Elders, the Shingwauk Residential School Survivor Community, and the SSMPS have worked together to cultivate an inclusive and cooperative learning environment intended to mitigate the stigma that can impact positive relationships.
Karen Bird, RBC Securities
Constable Jim Sayers, Batchewana Police Services
Steve Gjos, Métis Nation of Ontario (Sault Historic Metis)
Cathy Syrette, Sault Indigenous Friendship Centre
Kathleen Eshkibok, Algoma University Elder's Council
Vivian Estrada-Jiminez, AU Faculty
Dr Paulette Steeves, CRC Chair Healing and Reconciliation
Billi Grisdale-Briski, AU Finance
Customizable Training For Your Organization
Although SHIFT emerged as the result of a partnership between Algoma University and SSMPS, the program is fully customizable to suit the needs of other communities and frontline service organizations.
The program provides a foundation whereby the principles of restorative justice, the power of education and participation in diversion programs will support the commitment of participating organizations to effect positive change within their communities.
Understanding Different Perspectives:
- Developing a solid relationship and understanding from both community and police
Cultural Awareness Sensitivity (Leadership):
- The sensitivity of Indigenous issues when interacting with communities and those in particular who are in crisis
- More cultural and well-versed police service to enhance professionalism
- An understanding of culture and traditions
Ability to incorporate into organization planning:
- Participating organizations may implement/develop training within the organization’s mission, vision, values, and organizational goals/business plans
- Engagement strategies and how to successfully consult from an organizational perspective
- Collaborative curriculum development with support from SHIFT Advisory Group
- Measurable outcomes to ensure success
- Cultural awareness and understanding for all training participants
- Increased understanding and awareness of historical impacts; understanding of how Indigenous people have been affected by social policy due to the oppressive laws that have been imposed (Indian Act)
- Knowledge of community assets; who can assist, i.e.: Elder’s Council
- Four-day training program
- Team of four expert facilitators
- Supervision by Elders
- Sacred fire: Biidaabahn Arbour
- Aligned with community resources
- Conducted within a safe learning environment
- Incorporates Indigenous foods and traditions
1 / 4
Day One and Two
- Indian Act
- Shingwauk site tour
- Panel discussions
- Intergenerational trauma
- Intercession: cultural immersion activity
2 / 4
Day Three and Four
- Northern and local realities
- Unconscious bias
- Education and youth
- Traditional activities
- Indian residential school settlement agreement
- Panel discussions
- Language as resistance
- Ipperwash impacts
- What does reconciliation look like?
3 / 4
Evaluation and Feedback
- Online survey of participants, community resources and facilitators
- Debriefing session
- Implementation of feedback to refine future delivery
4 / 4
“Having the privilege to participate in the SHIFT training was a humbling experience. It was evident to me from the outset that this course was going to challenge my beliefs. Hearing residential school survivors speak about their experiences was heart-wrenching. Seeing the pride young adults have in their culture and heritage despite experiencing incidents of racism and discrimination is impacting me on a daily basis. I find myself looking beyond overt behavior of an individual and considering deeper issues. The SHIFT training has not only made me a better officer, but a better person.”
Cst. Darren Corcoran
“We are pleased to be entering into this significant partnership with the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service. Given our special mission, we feel strongly about promoting positive, respectful, and inclusive relationships between police personnel and Indigenous peoples within Sault Ste. Marie and beyond. We are honoured to be conducting this crucial work on our campus that can eventually be made available to other communities in the province and across Canada to foster mutual understanding, respect, and safe interactions. ”
President and Vice-Chancellor of the University
“The SHIFT training is already proving to be invaluable to the uniformed and civilian members of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service. Being able to experience local Indigenous traditions and gain a new perspective on the history of colonization, I believe, will help us serve the entire community. We were fortunate to hear a young woman speak on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls; that experience was incredibly powerful and inspirational for all in attendance.”
Chief Hugh Stevenson
“The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service is eager to continue working with our partners in the Indigenous community and at Algoma University on this new and exciting learning opportunity. This innovative partnership will pave a path for future groups across the province, promoting a mutually beneficial relationship and learning experience. I would like to thank the Indigenous Advisory Group, the staff at Algoma University, and the members of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service for their leadership, and for their tireless efforts in creating this opportunity.”
Former Deputy Chief (Retired)
SHIFT Facilitators are in active dialogue with a range of organizations interested in leveraging the benefits of training for their operations. For further information on how SHIFT can assist your organization, please contact: