Camps remain at Legislature despite eviction notice

Protest encampments at the Manitoba Legislature remain in place, after the province issued eviction deadlines last week. Alex Karpa reports.

By Alex Karpa

Two camps, set up on the east and north side of the legislative grounds, remained well after the eviction deadline of Tuesday at noon. The camp on the east side was set up in honour of the children who died at residential schools.

“We plan to stay here until all the sites (former residential schools) are searched across the country,” explained Danko Makwa Keipeitashet, residential school survivor.

Danko Makwa Keipeitashet, meaning great-grandmother bear who comes like the wind, says she is following and respecting Treaty 1 which calls for shared land between everyone, but she feels the province is not working with them.

“The provincial government doesn’t want to share this piece with us, so we are staying. My ancestors signed that treaty and shared land. So, we are staying.”

Manitoba’s new security regulations, created following the so called “Freedom Convoy” rally last winter, restricted people from building structures, tents or permanent shelters on the grounds, and prohibits the ability to tend to ceremonial fires.

But Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Deputy Grand Chief Cornell McLean says he supports the right to peaceful protests on the ground of the Manitoba Legislature and is calling for the eviction notices to be delayed.

“The encampment does not interfere with access to the legislature, and these laws have targeted First Nations’ ability to protest or hold ceremonies on their territory.”

CityNews reached out to the Justice Minister for comment but did not hear back at this time.

Members from both occupied camps were given eviction notices on August 17, stating demonstrators must leave and remove their structures.

“They should have no right to take it down. It says in the constitution, it says it in the Charter of Rights. As soon as they mess with this one, then they are going to have people coming here from all across the country, east and west,” explained Goldstar, a demonstrator.

Keipeitashet is herself a residential school survivor. She says it’s important to have her voice heard, and fight for those who didn’t make it home.

“Whatever happens today will happen and if I have to be taken away, I guess I will be taken away.”

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