Dawn Walker made a brief court appearance in Saskatoon Monday morning, her first in Canada since fleeing to the United States.

The 48-year-old chief of staff of the FSIN was found in Oregon this past month and handed over to Canadian authorities last week.

The courtroom was packed with media and supporters of Dawn who appeared somber during her brief appearance – shyly waving to her supporters when she first arrived.

Crown opposed to release

In court, Walker was read the two charges she is facing and Crown prosecutors announced they are opposed to Walker being released.

A bail hearing to determine whether she should be released from remand will take place on Friday afternoon in Saskatoon.

Outside the court, family of Dawn Walker expressed their frustration with that decision.

“Disappointed, upset and angry at the way the Crown Prosecutor is treating our sister,” said Dawn’s sister Kathy Walker when asked about the Crown opposing her release. “She is not a danger to society.”

Kathy says she has not been in contact with Dawn and it was “heartbreaking” that this was the first time they saw her. However, Kathy and others are hopeful she will be released on Friday.

Circle of Support

Before court began, around 30 people gathered for a circle of support for Walker.

Drummers played what they called a traditional Okanese song that is meant to spread “good feelings.”

During the circle, former long-time Okanese First Nation Chief Marie-Anne Daywalker-Pelletier spoke.

“We ask that you pray for Dawn and continue to support her on this long road ahead,” said Daywalker-Pelletier who is also Dawn Walker’s aunt.

(Marie-Anne Daywalker-Pelletier stands in a circle of support for Dawn Walker.  Photo by Joel Willick.)

Many Indigenous leaders have called for Dawn Walker to be released from remand, but will now have to wait until Friday to see if a judge agrees.

In the meantime, Dawn Walker’s family says they will continue to show up.

“We are going to do everything we can to fight for her and ensure she receives justice,” said Kathy Walker.

Important to note: some details of this story had to be excluded due to a publication ban