Colten Boushie's mother shares support for Indigenous justice camp
Government says it will not meet with activists at the encampment
Debbie Baptiste said her visit to the activist camp set up across from the Saskatchewan Legislature in Regina was a long time coming.
Baptiste is Colten Boushie's mother. On Tuesday she said the people who have tended the Justice for our Stolen Children Camp are warriors.
The tents, posters, fire and teepee went up in the wintertime in the wake of the Gerald Stanley and Raymond Cormier acquittals. The camp is meant to call attention to issues facing Indigenous families such as missing and murdered Indigenous women and children in the foster system.
"Their loved ones are taken away — lost in a system. Foster care and then on down to prison. Then we never see them again," Baptiste said.
"All we can do is wonder if they're safe. If they're okay. If they'll remember us."
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"I know where my son's at. He's in heaven, but then you gotta wonder what they feel like. A constant wonder where they're at."
Baptiste told reporters her grandchildren were taken after Boushie's funeral and have not been returned.
"Time and time again they said they'd give them back to us after we were done grieving, but they just made us grieve even harder."
She called on the government to take action on the issues highlighted by the camp.
It said the group must vacate the premise along with their property by 5 p.m. CST June 5. One week later the camp remains.
The campers have invited Richard Murray, deputy minister of Central Services, as well as the Ministers of Social Services and Justice to a meeting at the camp next Friday.
"I've always been hoping that they would come out and talk to us here in some place that's more comfortable to us," said Prescott Demas, one of the camp founders.
It's unlikely that will happen, according to an emailed statement from the spokesperson for the Ministry of Central Services.
"The Government of Saskatchewan has tried to arrange two meetings with the group and both times and locations were rejected," the statement read.
"The group has been advised that their ongoing encampment in the park is not permitted and they must vacate. Therefore, government officials will not be meeting with the group at the encampment."
Previously, the government wanted to meet in the Legislature, but the activists wanted to meet in the teepee. The government declined and offered to meet Wascana Place, which is home to the Provincial Capital Commission, which drafted the eviction notice.