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(Shifting Indigenous Frontline Tactics)

Fostering an environment of greater cultural understanding and sensitivity towards Indigenous peoples and communities.


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What is SHIFT?

The Shifting Indigenous Frontline Tactics (SHIFT) initiative was created by Algoma University as a customizable training program that aims to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities by fostering an environment of greater cultural understanding and sensitivity towards Indigenous peoples and communities. 

SHIFT curriculum has been developed by Indigenous community advisors, faculty and staff from Algoma University as part of its Special Mission to “cultivate cross-cultural learning between Aboriginal communities and other communities”.

Under the supervision of local elders and community members, SHIFT aims to effect positive change within Sault Ste. Marie, while promoting safe interactions between police personnel and Indigenous peoples. 

Developed Through Partnership To Effect Positive Community Change

SHIFT emerged through a partnership between Algoma University and the Sault Ste. Marie Police Services (SSMPS).

SSMPS is committed to working in collaboration with Algoma University to support ongoing efforts to build equitable, respectful and trusting relationships between Police and Indigenous peoples.

The primary goal of SHIFT is to bridge the gap between Police and the Indigenous Community, while maintaining a sensitivity to cultural backgrounds and a broader understanding of the unique needs of the community.  

Through the analysis of reports such as the “Broken Trust Report” and other related literature, Algoma University, local Elders, the Shingwauk Residential School Survivor Community, and the SSMPS have worked together to cultivate an inclusive and cooperative learning environment intended to mitigate the stigma that can impact positive relationships.


police chief and Algoma U president signing document

Advisory Committee
  • Karen Bird, RBC Securities

  • Constable Jim Sayers, Batchewana Police Services

  • Steve Gjos, Métis Nation of Ontario (Sault Historic Metis)

  • Cathy Syrette, Sault Indigenous Friendship Centre

  • Kathleen Eshkibok, Algoma University Elder's Council

  • Vivian Estrada-Jiminez, AU Faculty

  • Dr Paulette Steeves, CRC Chair Healing and Reconciliation

  • Billi Grisdale-Briski, AU Finance

Customizable Training For Your Organization

Although SHIFT emerged as the result of a partnership between Algoma University and SSMPS, the program is fully customizable to suit the needs of other communities and frontline service organizations.  

The program provides a foundation whereby the principles of restorative justice, the power of education and participation in diversion programs will support the commitment of participating organizations to effect positive change within their communities.


Understanding Different Perspectives:
  • Developing a solid relationship and understanding from both community and police 

medicine wheel - understanding, empathetic, deeper perspective, willingness to learn

Cultural Awareness Sensitivity (Leadership):
  • The sensitivity of Indigenous issues when interacting with communities and those in particular who are in crisis
  • More cultural and well-versed police service to enhance professionalism 
  • An understanding of culture and traditions

elder speaking

Ability to incorporate into organization planning:
  • Participating organizations may implement/develop training within the organization’s mission, vision, values, and organizational goals/business plans
  • Engagement strategies and how to successfully consult from an organizational perspective
  • Collaborative curriculum development with support from SHIFT Advisory Group
Expected Outcomes:
  • Measurable outcomes to ensure success
  • Cultural awareness and understanding for all training participants
  • Increased understanding and awareness of historical impacts;  understanding of how Indigenous people have been affected by social policy due to the oppressive laws that have been imposed (Indian Act)
  • Knowledge of community assets; who can assist, i.e.: Elder’s Council
Course Format

SHIFT Facilitators are in active dialogue with a range of organizations interested in leveraging the benefits of training for their operations. For further information on how SHIFT can assist your organization, please contact:

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