Colonialism No More Standing Strong

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Author: emily barber | contributor

 These summer days may be getting hotter, but the protesters are standing their ground by brett nielsen

These summer days may be getting hotter, but the protesters are standing their ground by brett nielsen

 

Regina protest continues into the summer

 

On April 20, the Carillon had the pleasure of visiting the Colonialism No More Solidarity Camp as an elder inspired those who gathered around to hold to their beliefs, and to remember what brought them to that point as they move forward in this and other actions against colonialism.

From April 18, 2016, activists and concerned citizens calling Treaty 4 Territory home have been camped out in front of the Regina office of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). This solidarity camp sprung up following the occupation of INAC offices and other demonstrations across Canada, especially those occurring in the Toronto office demanding action on the Attiwapiskat First Nation’s youth suicide crisis.

After initially arising from the suicide crisis at Attawapiskat First Nation, this movement with a camp in Winnipeg and other actions in various cities across Canada has broadened its scope to all issues facing Canadians, which disproportionately affect Indigenous populations.

As wildfires blaze in Fort McMurray, AB, the camp released a statement recognizing “that for Indigenous Peoples the displacement and dispossession caused by the Fort McMurray fire follows generations of ongoing displacement and dispossession caused by colonialism, capitalism, resource extraction, and the legal and political structures that uphold them.” The camp cites itself as a “living model of the spirit and intent of Treaty” and invites others to learn from their successes.

The camp has received support from many Canadian unions, including CUPE, which donated a large tent to the camp, and Unifor, which sent convention delegates to celebrate May Day at the camp’s community barbeque. The support is set to continue through Union-sponsored meals scheduled to begin in the coming week.

The camp states, “treaties are contracts and this camp is a picket.”

They are “honoured” by the support of the labour movement as they move forward.

On its journey away from the colonial powers-that-be, the camp has made various demands of INAC, including their initial demands that the office (closed like many others across Canada upon the occupation of the Toronto office) be reopened to serve the public, and their requests to have INAC officials make time to meet with Camp leaders to move forward. Meetings have been taking place between INAC and the Camp in effort to move towards change. [pullquote]Treaties are contracts and this camp is a picket.”[/pullquote]

The camp maintains an active Facebook page, Colonialism No More – Solidarity Camp Regina, and has been using it as a place to post articles about the camp and the movement from around the country, as well as videos and other media produced at the camp itself about its message and what it requires as it moves into its second month.

From a YouTube video created and shared by Wendy Lynn Lerat, activist Sue Duranger says, “it’s time for unity of our peoples, of all peoples on Turtle Island to say enough is enough”.

After facing initial attempts at eviction, the camp has been going strong for more than 35 days in downtown Regina as a community-oriented, sober, family-friendly base of a movement fighting against the devastation of colonialism in Canada. The camp has received national news coverage through APTN, and local coverage continuing through both alternative and mass media outlets alike.

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