April 18, 2016 9:13 pm

Protest held outside Regina Indigenous and Northern Affairs office, doors closed to public


REGINA – Protests were held across the country Monday to address the crisis in Attawapiskat and other First Nations in Canada.

In Regina, the “Colonialism No More” solidarity camp has rooted itself outside the local Indigenous and Northern Affairs (INAC) office, complete with tents and flags. The group held a rally along Albert Street Monday evening.

“We’ll stay here as long as is necessary to get the point across that the government isn’t doing a good job,” Protest Organizer Robyn Pitawanakwat said.

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READ MORE: Indigenous affairs minister gets earful on visit to Attawapiskat

Regina is one of many INAC regional offices to close its doors to the public.

“INAC regional offices, including Gatineau, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Quebec are currently operating but closed to the public, including the publicly accessible Registration Office. If required, we are working to resume registration services from alternate locations where needed,” an INAC spokesperson told Global News via email.

“We recognize the public’s right to engage in peaceful protests and lawful assembly and are balancing that against the need to ensure public and staff well-being.”

READ MORE: Idle No More activists stage sit-in at federal office over Attawapiskat

“By closing their doors, they’re sending a very clear message that this space is off limits,” Protester Wendy Lynn Lerat said.

Off limits to protesters who say “band-aid” solutions are doing little to solve major issues.

“Counselling is great as long as it’s in conjunction with improving education, improving housing, improving food supply, fresh water. They’re treating a symptom without treating any cause to the problem,” Pitawanakwat said.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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