This is a guest blog from Jim Elliott, the chairperson for the Regina Chapter of the Council of Canadians.
Editor's note: The Justice For Our Stolen Children camp was first set up on the Saskatchewan Legislature Grounds in Regina when the Canadian justice system failed Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine in February. The camp’s organizers vowed to stay until they saw real action to stop the systemic discrimination against Indigenous people in the judicial system and Social Services. After months of community-building events, meetings, op-eds, shared meals, round dances, and court challenges they were ordered to vacate the land on September 12th, a full 197 days after they first set up. We wrote about the camp earlier this summer, and a more recent backgrounder is available from Pam Palmater here.
After bringing coffee to the Justice for our Stolen Children Camp almost every morning from July 5th to September 12th and being there off and on since March 4th, my birthday, I have come to more fully understand the continuing systemic injustice that is in Saskatchewan that our provincial government won’t act to end.
The strength and resolve of those who have kept the camp beside the legislative buildings occupied and functioning has my undying gratitude. They have awoken the community to a need for change and a need to move forward together. The tens of thousands of people who have visited the camp or have provided support over the internet should not be discounted.
We need a new culture and support system in this province that keeps families together, that keeps people out of crime and those that have been violated by residential schools, the 60’s scoop, the foster care system and the Indian Act safe and healthy.
The appalling insensitivity and indifference of the Saskatchewan Party government to the problems and their stubborn unwillingness to even talk with those that want changes will only energize those pushing for change. Instead of a few dozen strong activists, they now have to deal with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and thousands of supporters and voters across this province.
This province needs more and better care for Indigenous children keeping and bringing families together. This province needs more supports for community justice and alternative measures programs. This province needs more supports for community-based organizations in the north.