Just days after members were arrested, the Justice for our Stolen Children camp is back up and running.
Members of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and Sask. First Nations chiefs were there Friday to show their support.
Police arrested protesters earlier in the week and the prominent teepee at the epicentre of the camp was taken down. On Thursday, National Indigenous Peoples Day, the teepee was set up outside the Legislature Building once again.
“We’re here because of issues that affect us deeply and we want to be heard,” said Prescott Demas, a supporter of the camp since day one.
Demas said police cars have been circling the camp since the teepee was setup a second time.
He said the goal remains the same for the camp, which is to meet with the premier and other members of government.
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said he met with Premier Scott Moe and Justice Minister Don Morgan earlier in the day. Cameron said a meeting is in the works, but he won’t meet with officials unless all the members of the camp and supporting chiefs are present.
“We will stand with our people, we’ve said that right off the bat,” Cameron said. “We will stand in solidarity and unity with our people, we will go the distance politically and legally.”
Cameron said he’s proud of the way the members of the camp have stuck together.
“Can you imagine sitting in the cold — minus 30, 40, 50 degree weather — they have, because they wanted some respect, they wanted to be heard,” Cameron said.
He said he has been in contact with the province for two months to attempt a meeting about the camp. While he had received messages back from Morgan, he said Moe had not responded to any.
Morgan said he said the government expects people to obey the law, and he expects the Regina Police Service to enforce it.
Safety is Morgan’s concern for removing the camp due to the nearby beer gardens in the Canada Day ceremonies at Wascana Park.
“I wouldn’t want to see people that have been drinking a lot have to pass through the area where the campers are where there isn’t proper lighting,” Morgan said.
Morgan said the government is ready to work with Cameron and the FSIN to come to a solution.
FSIN vice-chief Heather Bear and other First Nations chiefs also brought forward their concerns about how the province treats Indigenous people and the lack of supports for First Nations youth.
As Chief Nathan Pasap of White Bear First Nation was speaking to the media, a woman drove by the camp and screamed “Take it down and get out.”
Pasap urged for the government to meet with the camp because protesters have been doing things in a positive way.
“We’re not afraid to be here, we’ll make time and we’ll be here,” he said.
Bear said there was a call for action back in 2015 for Truth and Reconciliation, but it appears that has not been acted on.
“We’re in 2018 and nothing has changed,” Bear said. “Our people are in jails, our children are still being taken.”
She said the FSIN will continue to work with the camp and the members will remain there until the meeting takes place.