Solidarity campers vow to stay “as long as it takes” to get answers
- Nickita Longman | March 08, 2018
A solidarity camp of three small tents was erected a week ago across from the Saskatchewan Legislative Building in Regina. The camp, called Justice for Our Stolen Children, was largely in response to the acquittals of two major cases involving the deaths of Indigenous youth Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine.
On the heels of two back-to-back acquittals of white suspects from the prairies, solidarity camps set up in Winnipeg and Calgary. Shortly after, Regina followed suit. All three camps have kept contact with one another throughout the process.
Richelle Dubois, with the grassroots organization Colonialism No More, says she would much rather be at the solidarity camp demanding change than sitting at home. “We are here to seek justice for Colten and Tina,” she told Eagle Feather News on the day of set-up. “We will keep light on this situation until answers are received.”
Dubois explained the reasoning for the location was because change happens in places like the legislative building. She added that it isn’t just the justice system that needs an overhaul. “We want to see accountability from the child welfare system, as well.”
Dubois and the fellow campers hope to raise public awareness to the inadequate treatment Indigenous people face within these systems. The general public, many of whom utilize the area as a public park, is encouraged to drop in and ask questions and engage in discussion with those involved with the camp.
Over the past week, the camp has expanded with more tents, including a tipi and a fishing tent equipped with heating. And with Regina receiving a record high of 40 centimetres of snow, donations of firewood have been extremely appreciated by the group.
When asked how long Dubois intends to stay, she says she will remain at the camp as long as it takes. “We deserve concrete change. No more talk. No more promises.”
Dubois said her family has been her biggest supporter so far. “They have always been behind me in my pursuit for change,” she said. Colonialism No More and her close friends have also been Dubois’ biggest supporters.
Dubois’ personal experience with the justice system dates back to May 20th, 2015 when her 14-year-old son, Haven Dubois, was found face down in a shallow body of water in Regina’s east end.
Dubois is still waiting on justice for her own child almost three years later.