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

New electric buses are coming to school districts. (Submitted photo)
New electric school buses will drive North Island forward

Travel on electric school buses is smoother, quieter, and healthier than traditional diesel buses

North Island Gazette file photo of Port McNeill council.
Port McNeill average priced home to pay $12 more in taxes

Residential property taxes in Port McNeill are going up

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Opening ceremony in remembrance of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Awareness Day hosted by Quatsino First Nation. (Quatsino First Nation Facebook video screenshot)
VIDEO: Quatsino First Nation goes live for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Day

May 5 is when the message behind all the red dresses hanging comes into sharpest focus

North Island Gazette file photo of Port Hardy council.
Port Hardy council to send RCMP officer a letter of congratulations

Mayor Dennis Dugas said Corp. Chris Voller ‘obviously earned it and he did a great job up here’

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read