Blue Line

Thunder Bay, Ont., police seeking Indigenous art for display at police station

THUNDER BAY, Ont. — The police force in Thunder Bay, Ont., is looking for artists from an area First Nation to help design a display for the service’s headquarters in what it says is an effort to better reflect the community it serves.

January 23, 2018  By The Canadian Press

The force says it’s looking to recognize that it is on the traditional territory of the Fort William First Nation and is seeking input from local Indigenous artists.

It says the selected artist, or artists, will receive a commission to produce works — including paintings, leather work, beading, birch bark, burnings, quill work and photography — to be featured at the station.

Interested artists are asked to apply by Feb. 28 and include information about their work, experience, a portfolio and references.

Acting Deputy Chief Don Lewis says the police service is looking forward to improving the station.

Fort William Chief Peter Collins says his community has many skilled artists whose work spans a variety of media.

“I look forward to seeing the final selections and the unveiling of the space within the Thunder Bay Police Service Station,” Collins said in a release on Monday.

The Thunder Bay Police Service has faced allegations of systemic racism and has been working to improve relations with the Indigenous community.

Earlier this month, it announced it was forming a working group to help it reshape its diversity training, recruitment, communications and community policing.

Last August, the city and First Nations leaders in the region signed a pledge to fight racism in Thunder Bay. The statement acknowledged systemic racism exists in Thunder Bay and said it must be challenged by all members of the community.

The statement signed by the city, Fort William First Nation and the Nishnawbe Aski Nation also stated the need to improve safety for Indigenous students attending school in Thunder Bay.

Indigenous students from outside Thunder Bay must relocate to the city to complete high school or post-secondary education, the statement said.

At least eight Indigenous students, in Thunder Bay for schooling, have been found dead in recent years — several by drowning.

Local chiefs have criticized how Thunder Bay police handled many of the death investigations.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2018

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