Attendees of the Tuesday meeting at Prince Albert’s Indian Metis Friendship Centre. Photo courtesy Police Chief Troy Cooper.

Indigenous women in and around Prince Albert are being asked for their perspectives on policing.

The inaugural “Indigenous Women’s Commission” meeting took place on Tuesday between local Indigenous women leaders, city representatives, and police. It came about after a report came out last month, alleging police victimization of Aboriginal women and girls in the province. The Human Rights Watch report was released with support by Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.

In response to the report, Chief of Police Troy Cooper says they’re laying the groundwork for an advisory committee meant to improve relations between the groups.

“That’s what the report was basically about, was Indigenous women’s issues. So when we talked about it at work and we included our Elder in those discussions, we said ‘why don’t we ask them? Why don’t we go out into the Indigenous community locally and ask the women, what are your experiences with the police?” he said after the multi-hour meeting, which was held at the city’s Friendship Centre.

The advisory committee is just taking shape now after about 16 people, including FSIN Vice-Chief Kim Jonathan, gathered to review the Human Rights Watch report and to identify future topics of discussion, including creating a domestic violence policy, undergoing training in relation to truth and reconciliation, and the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The next meeting is scheduled in September, and by then its expected the group will identify its official members and finish drafting the terms of reference for the Indigenous Women’s Commission.