After 196 days, the Justice for our Stolen Children Camp began to take down the teepees but one is expected to remain until Wednesday evening.
More than 100 people gathered in Wascana Park for a potluck dinner and a round dance as members of the camp began to take down the teepees.
Last week, a judge sided with the government in a court battle, ruling the camp must vacate Wascana Park.
The camp was originally set up in February, with the goal of bringing attention to the issues of racial injustice and the over-representation of Indigenous children in the foster care system.
“I think the camp has just woken up Regina and the surrounding communities,” Reynold Robbin Whitecap, who was at the event Tuesday night, said. “It’s taken a while but I think the community has found some compassion in their heart to have some understanding that this is about children, about making a better world for our people, for all people.”
He said the camp is just the first step towards solving the problems, with more work needed to be done.
Robyn Pitawanakwat, one of the supporters of the camp, described it as a safe space for people to reach out and share their stories.
“Being here, having a 24 hour a day presence, allowed for families to come forward at any time that worked for them and with being dismantled that would cease to exist,” she said.
Pitawanakwat is concerned about where families will go for help and support once the camp has been taken down.
Other teepees also appeared in other cities and provinces in support of the camp. Gaylene McArthur said she wasn’t surprised to see support from other areas.
“It did bring about an awareness that things need to change,” McArthur said. She said she never expected the camp to last as long as it did, but was glad to see them stick around to get their point across.
. As of early Wednesday morning, three teepees remained on the site. The camp said they will stop fuelling the sacred fire in the central teepee at 5 p.m. Wednesday with it expected to extinguish around sundown.
– With files from Andrew Shepherd