Stacey Hill a trailblazing female police officer standing up for Indigenous citizens

Stacey Hill has spent 27 years making waves in a male-dominated profession, not just as a woman, but a Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe woman.

And she’s not finished yet.

Hill, who grew up on the Mississaugas of the Credit reserve, is the first Indigenous liaison officer with the Hamilton Police force. 

She has spent the past three decades forging relationships between police and Indigenous residents in the city, a relationship historically marked by distrust.

She is currently involved in several community-based projects in Hamilton centred on community consultation, including working with the Circle of Beads (Hamilton’s Indigenous Consultation Circle) to assist Indigenous people navigate interactions with police.

Indeed, her Anishinaabe speaks to her life calling: ‘Biidaasimi goobiwi qwe’ – which means “Woman who stands up for us/the people”.

She has both Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee heritage and belongs to the Bear (Mother side) and Marten (Father side) Clans.

Hill was part of the police team that worked with elders and Indigenous activists protesting the building of the Red Hill Valley Parkway in the early 2000s. 

She always went in plainclothes and refused to ever interact with the people in uniform.

“A lot of the elders were asking for their Indigenous officers. You don’t go in with weapons. You don’t go in uniform.”

Hill said she knew from early on in her career that Indigenous people needed to see their own in policing.

“I knew that Indigenous relations were going to be important for me. Our people aren’t well represented outside of tribal services. We don’t have the faces our home territory would. It’s important to let Indigenous people know I’m here and I’m on the job.”

And in a city like Hamilton, where she says roughly 16,000 Indigenous people live, it’s important to have officers like her on the job.

People can reach out to her if they don’t feel comfortable reaching out to a non-Indigenous officer, she said.

She’s also available for Indigenous community members for matters such as early intervention inquiries, advice and consultation, and providing support and resources to both Indigenous victims of crime and the accused.

“You can always represent in different ways. You want to create those relationships and build those bridges.”

Hill was approached three years ago to take the position of Indigenous liaison officer and she took the post in 2022.

“There was a big push for it in Hamilton. All the stars seemed to align. It’s been my lifelong dream to be able to do this kind of thing in a non-Indigenous police service.”

It’s not just her ancestral background that makes Hill a force to be reckoned with.

“Being one of the few women in a male-dominated profession and being a strong Indigenous woman coming into this role is huge for me. Our people, before colonization, our women were the speakers, they were the ones that held that space. It’s a huge honour to be able to hold that space again.”

Her role, she believes, gives Indigenous people in Hamilton “a warm place to fall. I know I’m still a cop but I’m indigenous first. It is who I am.”

The brass at the Hamilton Police always know she’s Indigenous first, she says.

“When I leave this place (after a shift), I’m not a cop but I am Indigenous.” 

Hill says she can retire next year but she wants to stay on until the torch can be passed on because there is a lot of work yet to do.

She says the position has gained allies but she’s the only person doing it and would eventually like some help.

“It’s a lot of work. I’m the only person doing it. It’s great to see that happening now. We still have a ways to go. You have the largest off-reserve population here in Hamilton and we need to be represented. It’s always been a huge deal for me.”

Hill says there’s still some bias in the police force that needs addressing.

“I think everyone has their bias and prejudice. I personally work with a great number of people that are huge allies. There are those bad seeds that come to the service. I’m hoping with education those will either lessen or go away.”

Hill and others are working on delivering cultural competency training for police officers, both bosses and new recruits.

She also works to educate Indigenous youth on human trafficking, as Indigenous people are more susceptible to human trafficking than other demographics in the city and surrounding areas.

Hill’s office – adorned with traditional medicines and artwork – and her private meeting space is located at the Division 30 (Mountain) Station, 400 Rymal Rd E. 



Related Posts