‘It’s disheartening:’ Teepees start to come down at Saskatchewan legislature

Teepees are coming down at an Indigenous protest camp on the grounds of the Saskatchewan legislature. Taryn Snell / Global News

Teepees are starting to come down at an Indigenous protest camp on the grounds of the Saskatchewan legislature, but what the protesters do in the future remains unknown.

On Friday, a judge ordered that the Justice For Our Stolen Children Camp be dismantled after the government applied for a court-ordered eviction.

There had been 15 teepees in the camp at one point, but that number was down to 10 by Monday morning. At least two of the teepees came down after the court order, while others were taken down for the annual Treaty 4 Gathering in Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.

Regina police spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich said the department was in talks with the province and protesters.

READ MORE: Justice for Our Stolen Children camp ordered to leave Wascana Park

“The chief has said he expects a resolution in the near future,” Popowich said in an emailed statement.

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No deadline was specified in Justice Ysanne Wilkinson’s order to take the camp down.

Protester Richelle Dubois said it’s disheartening to see the number of teepees shrink.

“It shows the province’s true colours and how they feel about First Nation children and communities,” she said.

The campers have been protesting racial injustice and the disproportionate number of Indigenous children in care since late February.

Robyn Pitawanakwat, a spokeswoman for the camp, said protesters are still undecided about where to go from here.

Protesters held several meetings over the weekend to discuss their options.

“We’re hopeful, hopeful that there’s still a future for our cause and there’s still a future for our children and our children still matter,” Dubois said.

Lawyer Dan LeBlanc, who represents the protesters, wasn’t immediately available for comment. A spokesperson for the provincial government declined to comment further on the future of the camp.

Pitawanakwat said spirits are good at the camp and people have been united since the court order. She wants the focus to be on issues they’ve brought forward, rather than bylaws and permissions.

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