The six-episode series explores the challenges indigenous peoples face as they interact with the Canadian justice system.
TORONTO (September 27, 2022) — Today, the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centers (OFIFC) launches Restoring Indigenous Humanity, a new podcast series that explores the challenges most indigenous peoples face when interacting with the Canadian justice system. The community-driven six-episode series features OFIFC and four Friendship Centers from across the province: Toronto Council Fire, Nogojiwanong Friendship Center (Peterborough), Brantford Regional Indigenous Support Center and United Native Friendship Center (Fort Frances). The justice-focused podcast also includes perspectives from OFIFC President and Fort Erie Native Friendship Center Executive Director Jennifer Dockstader.
The goal of the podcast is to address systemic injustices that require accountability, as well as solutions that are being created and those that are still needed. Covers a variety of topics, including: advocacy and support for women going through the justice system, lack of protection for victims of intimate partner violence, personal experiences with the justice system, bail bonds, and its impact on victims, shelters for victims of domestic violence, the 2SLBGTQ+ experience interacting with binary conventional justice processes, the lack of access to judicial services in remote areas, and the variety of support programs offered at Friendship Centers and at communities.
Explored in Episode 5, the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Center is leading the development of the spiritual garden located on Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto. In compliance with Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 82, the space and artwork commemorate the victims and survivors of Canada’s Indigenous Residential Schools. Cultural programming offered throughout the year, including Council Fire’s Indigenous Legacy Meeting on September 29 and 30, 2022.
The show is produced in collaboration with Anthroscope Media and is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario.
“The criminal justice system is not working for our people and that needs to change,” says Jennifer Dockstader, president of the Federation of Indian Friendship Centers of Ontario. “It is vital that Ontarians and the entire legal community understand the complex nature of what Indigenous Peoples experience when dealing with the justice system. This podcast helps us share these important perspectives with a broader audience in our traditional form of oral storytelling.”
“Our community is still dealing with the loss of one of our beloved members, Cileana-ban Taylor, and the lack of justice that she and her family have received. The legal community must really grapple with the findings of the National Inquiry into the MMIWG and the nature of violence experienced by indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people,” says Ashley Safar, Executive Director of the Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre. “We hope that sharing this story will aid in the healing process and improve the chances that the judges will make decisions that do not put the public at risk.”
“This podcast and our episode are part of the steps Brantford Regional Indigenous Support Center is taking to provide education to their community on the importance of closing gaps for indigenous people who are involved in the justice system,” he says. Trevor Martin, Executive Director. , Brantford Regional Indian Support Center. “Our goal is to positively impact the lives of our community and take the position that by supporting and empowering our youth, we can assist in the continued healing and growth of our community for generations to come.”
“The Restoring Indigenous Humanity podcast project allows Friendship Centers to focus on the realities facing our urban Indigenous community within the justice system,” says Sheila McMahon, Executive Director of the United Indigenous Friendship Center.
The Federation of Indian Friendship Centers of Ontario
The Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centers (OFIFC) represents the collective interests of 29 Friendship Centers in cities and towns across the province. Friendship Centers are places for community members and indigenous peoples living in urban spaces to meet, connect with each other and receive culturally based services. Friendship Centers improve the lives of urban Indigenous Peoples by supporting self-determined activities that promote equal access to and participation in Canadian society, while respecting Indigenous cultural distinctiveness.
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