Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on May 25, 2016

Perhaps you’ve seen it. For more than a month, the Colonialism No More Solidarity Camp has been outside the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) offices at 1827 Albert Street.

The Solidarity Camp was set up on April 18, following INAC occupations in Toronto, Winnipeg, Gatineau, and Vancouver, in response to news of the youth suicide crisis in Attawapiskat. The camp is occupied day and night.

An autonomous group, the Regina Solidarity Camp calls for

  • An end to band-aid solutions to the state of perpetual crisis facing First Nations across Canada—including overcrowded and substandard housing; drinking water advisories; underfunded education, child welfare, and healthcare programs; as well as youth suicide.
  • A commitment to face the real issue: COLONIALISM.


This camp was set up on Treaty Four territory in solidarity with the requests of Attawapiskat youth. They know what they need and they need to be listened to. This camp is an autonomous group of individuals who come together under one banner: COLONIALISM—NO MORE!

Attawapiskat is in crisis as are hundreds of other First Nations in Canada. Flying out to one community, and acting like that will solve the problem is wrong, and it is a showy distraction from the real problem: COLONIZATION. From broken Treaty promises to the latest election promises, Indigenous peoples are left waiting as the government works in crisis mode. Always working through Band-Aid logics, the government is always treating the symptoms and not the root cause. The root cause is:

  • 500+ years of colonialism.
  • Not listening to the communities and what they need.
  • Not recognizing the right to self-determination.
  • Not honouring the spirit and intent of the treaties.

We ask that you join us in resistance to ongoing colonialism.


Many Canadians, including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, believe Canada is not, and has never been, a colonial state. In Harper’s words, Canada “has no history of colonialism.”

How, then, do we account for:

  • The 1876 Indian Act which enshrines white settler domination and supremacy and Indigenous subjugation?
  • The forced dispossession, displacement, and containment of Indigenous peoples under Canada’s reserve and pass systems—systems that made Indigenous lands available for European settlement?
  • The genocidal residential school system, for which Harper himself apologized?


Canadian colonialism is not only a historical fact. It is also a present reality.

  • White settler supremacy remains intact. In education, housing, employment, the justice system—indeed, almost everywhere in Canadian society—whiteness is an advantage and Indigenous identity a disadvantage.
  • Indigenous people are 10 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous people. As Maclean’s puts it, “justice is not blind. At every step—from arrest to trial to sentencing—Canada’s justice system is set against Indigenous people…. Prisons are the new residential schools” (Feb 20 2016).
  • Canada’s dispossession of Indigenous peoples is ongoing, as the Canadian state continues to grant corporate access to Indigenous land and resources.


The camp has a number of short-term and long-term demands.

Short term demands include:

  1. That Regina’s Albert Street INAC office unlock its doors and resume services to the public: This demand was met after the doors had been locked for nine days.
  2. That INAC administrators meet with the camp: To date, there have been four meetings.
  3. That data on conditions for Saskatchewan First Nations—drinking water, housing, health, education, child welfare—be made easily available to the public: INAC has provided some of this information to the camp, including data on drinking water, housing, and health. 

Long term demands include:

  1. That the true spirit and intent of the Treaties be upheld.
  2. That the Treaty rights of urban, off-reserve Indigenous peoples be respected and upheld.
  3. That the Indian Act be revoked.


Camp members are not planning on leaving anytime soon. They have already weathered scorching heat, freezing temperatures, driving rain, and gale force winds. They are prepared for the long-haul—until they get concrete action on more of their demands.

But they need our support. Here’s how we can help:

  • Bring sandwiches or soup or stew to the camp. Fruit is also always welcome.
  • Drop by the camp and hang-out for a while.




We need poverty to end. We need suicides to end. We need clean water. We need adequate housing. We need, finally, for there to be justice. And we need to do this together. This camp is modelling that.”—Su Deranger, camp member, from a video made at the camp’s May Day BBQ by Miranda Hanus


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