The Six Nations Police Service: An oral history project
Cooper, Jeffrey William
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This paper investigates the under researched intersection between oral history methodology and Six Nations of the Grand River mobilization, transformation, self-determination, and decolonization. The Six Nations Police Service [SNPS] is an example of the Haudenosaunee's attempt to reclaim political control of their own resources. The study culminates an oral history project comprising interviews with 6 key community members who contributed to the establishment of the SNPS and illustrates how everyday Six Nations people helped shape the SNPS from the 1970s to the present day. It also contextualizes the current Anglo-American model of social justice, vis-à-vis policing to the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Chapter 1 introduces the project's underlying purpose and highlights the significance of using oral history and learned experiences to examine the establishment of the SNPS, and to expand jurisdictional foundations to achieve Indigenous decision-making control. Chapter 2 provides an overview of the Six Nations of the Grand River, emphasizing their historical peacemaking tradition under the Great Law of Peace. It discusses traditional Haudenosaunee organization and operation as a society, and the internal complexities of their social control traditions in resolving disputes. Chapter 3 examines the history of policing in Canada and the current policing model utilized by the Six Nations of the Grand River. It reveals Canada's intended use of law enforcement (i.e., police) to enforce colonial legislation in order to settle Indigenous lands. Chapter 4 interprets the narratives and highlights 3 key aspects in relation to the establishment of the SNPS as a mechanism of nation (re)building. Chapter 5 concludes with some final thoughts addressing whether a western institutional policing model within the Anglo-American legal system has empowered Six Nations to self-determine a better future. The Appendix section provides the edited versions of each of the 6 narratives.