The Justice for Our Stolen Children Camp at Wascana Park says it is not going anywhere, rejecting calls from Premier Scott Moe to dismantle teepees before a second meeting with the government will take place.
Protester Robyn Pitawanakwat says if the protesters leave, then there is no incentive for the government to meet again.
“They have no real incentive to meet with us, if we’re not here. So, we know that we have to be here, and we know this is where people find us,” said Pitawanakwat.
Premier Scott Moe told reporters Thursday that a second meeting with the protesters at this point was out of the question, calling for the teepees to be dismantled.
“We would also ask that in good faith that the individuals across the way understand that they are in violation of bylaws and start to remove some of the structures that they have there,” said Moe.
“We have shown good faith. We’ve been here peacefully for 136 days now. We have taken care of this space and welcomed every person in. We’ve been far more welcoming than the folks across the street for sure,” Pitawanakwat explained.
As more teepees are erected in the camp, now marking 14 and increased community support, Pitawanakwat says the government is feeling the pressure to change child welfare, justice, foster care and adoptions, given the camp is now much larger.
“I do think there’s more pressure. It’s not just one community group, one grassroots group that’s putting pressure on the government — it’s now several First Nations, First Nations organizations,” Pitawanakwat stated.
Moe says the government is not under pressure to make the changes requested, saying the government has worked well with First Nations leaders in making reforms.
The FSIN has come out in full support of the camp, as too has the City of Saskatoon for a similar camp at a local park there.
(PHOTO: Justice for Our Stolen Children camp has 14 teepees, marking 136 days. Photo courtesy of Mick Favel.)