Chris Voller with Gwa’sala First Nation hereditary chief Willie Walkus at a farewell gathering for Voller. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

Chris Voller with Gwa’sala First Nation hereditary chief Willie Walkus at a farewell gathering for Voller. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

Island cop earns Reconciliation Award for culturally safe and competent policing

Inaugural award given by the BC Achievement Foundation to inspire other works of reconciliation

RCMP Corporal Chris Voller sees reconciliation as a key priority for RCMP officers, and is deliberately up front about the harmful legacy the RCMP have in many Indigenous communities.

It’s one reason he was among the BC Achievement Foundation and the Lieutenant Governor’s office have given Reconciliation Awards to six people and three organizations who demonstrated leadership and commitment to furthering reconciliation.

Voller was nominated by his former boss and four First Nations from the North Island where he was most recently posted.

“We existed as an enforcement agency when the government created policies that forcefully removed children from their families in order to place them in schooling systems that saw them lose their sense of personal and cultural identity,” Voller said.

“Acknowledging our roles, and the piercing, multigenerational effects of those roles, coupled with continued socioeconomic disadvantages, needs to be understood.”

While working out of Port Hardy, he was often seen at community gatherings, he developed friendships with First Nations leaders, and supported Indigenous-led initiatives such as the Managed Alcohol Program and the Indigenous Court.

READ MORE: Officer Chris Voller says farewell to the North Island

Since transferring to Quadra Island where he’s now detachment commander, one of his first steps was to reach out to the First Nations there — We Wai Kai and Klahoose — to ask their blessing to work on their traditional territories. He waited to receive it before publicly announcing his new position.

That respect and humility demonstrates his sincere commitment to delivering culturally safe and competent policing.

A memorable moment from Port Hardy was when, after years of developing relationships with the Gwa’sala and ‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations — who had been forcefully removed from their traditional territory by the RCMP in the ’60s, and given a reserve outside of Port Hardy — he was invited to attend and participate in a potlach ceremony.

One hereditary chief traded garb with Voller, so the cop was dancing in a vest with bear emblems, and the chief was dancing in a police vest. Speaking of that event, Voller says he’s grateful the Nations were willing to make space for someone with his uniform to be part of the community.

Voller is also a leadership trainer with the RCMP, and will travel around the Island consulting with other detachments.

Other recipients of the inaugural Reconciliation Award are Dawn Drummond, Doris Paul, Corey Payette, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, David Suzuki, the Carrier Sekani Family Services team, Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast and the Ktunaxa Nation’s xacqanat ‘itkinit (many ways of doing the same thing) research team.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca

Indigenous reconcilliationRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Grade 12 LSS student Catherine Sampson, Grade 8 LSS student Cianna Vincent, and LSS Aboriginal Education teacher Brenda Kohlruss led the LSS ceremony honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people. (Cole Schisler photo)
Ladysmith Secondary ceremony honours missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

A small ceremony was held in the LSS foyer on the National Day of Awareness for MMIWG

Peter and Wayne Richmond and 49th Parallel Grocery won the award for Business Achievement 20+ Employees at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s 22nd Black Tie Awards on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Submitted)
Ladysmith businesses recognized at Black Tie Awards

Black Tie Awards are given annually by the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce

Ladysmith’s Town Council met on May 4 and set a 0.52 percent increase for 2021 property taxes. (Town of Ladysmith/YouTube)
Town of Ladysmith adopts 0.52 percent tax increase for 2021

Mayor Aaron Stone praises the increase as among the ‘lowest in the province’

The CVRD introduces new app to contact residents during emergencies. (CVRD photo)
CVRD launches new app to spread information during emergencies

Cowichan Alert is a free app that can be downloaded onto smartphones, computers

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
Unlawful entry triggers heart condition for Ladysmith woman

An intoxicated man entered the Lavines’ apartment in the middle of the afternoon

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

Most Read