OHSWEKEN — A desperately needed investment is coming to Six Nations to help the community prevent gun and gang violence.
Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, and SNGR Elected Chief Mark Hill announced a $1.9 million investment under the Building Safer Communities Fund (BSCF.) This funding will support initiatives that tackle the root causes of gun crime, supporting community-led projects to combat violence among young people who are involved in gangs, or at risk of joining them.
“Protecting the safety and security of families is the first responsibility of any governing authority, and Six Nations families want a safe and secure community in which to raise our children. This is just one step, but an important one, towards building that more secure future,” said Chief Hill.
The investment is part of a $250 million pledge the federal government has made toward a Building Safer Communities Fund.
As part of the announcement, Chief Hill welcomed Medocino along with Tim Louis, MP for Kitchener-Conestoga; Lisa Hepfner, MP for Hamilton Mountain; Filomena Tassi, MP for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas; Vance Badawey, Parliamentary Secretary of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre to the Dajoh Youth and Elders Centre where they took a moment to tour the facility and shoot some hoops.
Six Nations of the Grand River is the first of many Indigenous communities who will benefit from funding under the BSCF.
“The Government of Canada is currently working with communities across the country to put contribution agreements in place as quickly as possible. This funding is one element of broader efforts to improve public safety in Indigenous communities, including working with First Nations partners to co-develop legislation recognizing First Nations policing as an essential service, and increasing funding for police services under the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program,” said a statement.
“Walking the road of reconciliation means supporting grassroots initiatives in First Nations communities, by First Nations communities. This funding from the BSCF will help support the great work that’s already happening on the ground, helping people make healthy choices and set themselves up for success in life. I look forward to seeing the difference it makes for young people across Six Nations,: said Mendicino.
The $250 million fund will go towards combatting gun smuggling at the borders, a national freeze on handguns, laws to stop domestic violence and the banning of assault style firearms.
The investment for Six Nations is a part of the Liberals’s Budget 2021 announcing $861 million over five years, beginning in 2021-2022, to support culturally responsive policing and community safety services in Indigenous communities.
According to a statement the federal government has also been engaging with First Nations to develop a federal First Nations police services legislation with a report expected to be released soon.