A collective of organizations, lead by Kenora Chiefs Advisory (KCA), Kenora OPP and Kenora District Services Board (KDSB), are working to create a Bear Clan Chapter in Kenora.
The Bear Clan was created in 2015 in Winnipeg Manitoba, and there are now several Chapters across Canada. In 2016 a Bear Clan Patrol was created in Kenora, but was short-lived as it was solely volunteer-based. A community council, comprised of local leaders and Indigenous partners, is working to create a funded model to have paid employees for long term sustainability and effectiveness. By having a fully-funded model, it will bring together gaps in the current service provisions of those in need and most vulnerable.
Having an organization such as the Bear Clan enhances safety on the streets. They can assist in helping marginalized persons, who may be in compromised positions or conditions, get from the streets to various services. This would be extremely beneficial to the person being helped, the police and the community. Further, this can be done by the Bear Clan in a culturally safe manner, and very importantly, done without further stigmatization to the person serviced.
The Bear Clan will be able to build relationships with those most vulnerable in the community and be seen as a helping hand to lend a ride or provide that much-needed guidance in a more appropriate manner than police response. The Bear Clan members’ patrol will coincide with identified peak times for calls for service by the OPP and local businesses will be able to call the Bear Clan as a first resort to non-violent incidents of public intoxication, unwanted persons or openly drinking alcohol. The Bear Clan will attend and speak to those involved and attempt to resolve the situation in a non-violent and non-confrontational manner.
The Bear Clan is a community-based solution to crime prevention, intending to provide a sense of safety, solidarity and belonging to both its members and to the communities they serve. This is achieved in a non-violent, non-threatening, non-judgmental and supportive manner primarily through relationship building and reconciliation. The Bear Clan will work closely with the Police, KDSB, Mobile Outreach Programs, other Emergency Services, Morningstar Detoxification Center, and the Lake of the Woods District Hospital to ensure people in need receive prompt and appropriate care.
Community support is still needed to ensure the Bear Clan can begin patrolling in Kenora this summer. Through collaboration and outreach, the Kenora Bear Clan community council has been able to gather in-kind and donated contributions to the program in the form of a vehicle, uniforms, supplies and staff training. Donations are still needed to support wages, fuel costs, communication devices and additional training for both staff and volunteers. Every donation is invaluable in ensuring the Bear Clan can begin patrolling and keeping our community safe.
Miigwetch on behalf of the Kenora Bear Clan Community Council, which consists of representatives from the following organizations, as well as a Community Elder and Representative;
- Ontario Provincial Police
- Kenora Chiefs Advisory
- Kenora District Services Board
- City of Kenora
- Treaty 3 Police Service
- Canadian Mental Health Association Kenora
- Anishinaabe Abinooji Family Services
- Nechee Friendship Centre
- Nishinaabe-Aski Legal Services
- Kenora Association for Community Living
- Harbourtown BIZ
- Kenora Metis Council
- Grand Council Treaty #3
The Bear Clan is community people working with the community to provide personal security in a non-threatening, non-violent, non-judgmental and supportive way.