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Grand Council Treaty #3 warmly opened the Kaakewaaseya “The Good Road” Justice Office in Dryden last week at 24 Duke Street.
This new office was made possible through partnership with the Indigenous Justice Division of the Ministry of the Attorney General. Collaboratively, they worked towards the goal of providing and improving the delivery of justice services to the members throughout the entire Treaty #3 territory.
The Grand Council hopes to reduce the over representation of the Indigenous population in the mainstream justice system.
Justice Director Arthur Huminuk said that the main goal is to work with the court system in Dryden. “What we’re trying to do is bring down the over representation of Indigenous people within our jail system and within our court systems and also having more Indigenous people working in the communities,” said Huminuk. “There’s always been an under representation of staffing in justice that were not Indigenous so that’s another step we are taking.”
Huminuk added that 95% of inmates in the Kenra jail are Indigenous. Grand Council Treaty #3 Grand Chief Francis Kavanaugh said that the new facility is about providing a place where people, especially youth, can come and receive services in a healing way.
“Right now we say we’re over represented in the justice system, a lot of that is because of the travel, the distance we all have to travel to go to court hearings and this and that,” said Kavanaugh. “By spreading centers like this throughout the territory then it’s easier for our people to attend court sessions or whatever kind of sessions they need to go through, in that regard that is one of the purposes for building these centers in different town centers.”
The services that are provided in the Dryden office include: A fulltime Indigenous Justice Liaison worker to provide support and education to community members; Gladue writers to assist Judges in the sentencing process; Gladue After Care workers to assist and follow-up on the recommendations that are given during sentencing; Bail Supervision and Verification workers to provide support and advocacy to community members; and An Indigenous Support Network worker that will assist the victims of crime, and other tragic circumstances.