The steps of the B.C. Legislature building began to empty Thursday as Indigenous youth and supporters packed up. Red dresses from a ceremony in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit folks were on the lawn. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

B.C. Legislature steps empty as Indigenous youth pack up 11-day demonstration

Occupation in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in opposition of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The grounds and steps of the B.C. Legislature building began to empty Thursday as Indigenous youth and supporters who occupied the area for the past 11 days packed up.

This is the second time the group occupied the space in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in opposition of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

On Thursday afternoon, supporters were seen cleaning up the area on and around the steps while several red dresses hung on wooden stakes that were in the lawn.

Kati George-Jim, one of the Indigenous youth group members, said they held a closing ceremony on the lawn and that a ceremony was also held in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit folks. A pyre was constructed and the red dresses in the area were there for the ceremony as well.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

“It is important to show the interconnected problems and systemic issues with having man camps and extractive resource industries on Indigenous territories where we know there is an increased amount of domestic violence and targeted racial violence against our people and our families,” George-Jim said. “It’s not a single issue, it’s not just one part of the problem here we’re trying to address.”

George-Jim said the closing ceremony was to thank and honour supporters, community members, families and relations who were at the B.C. Legislature building over the past 11 days and the six days they were there earlier. She said they would now like to carry themselves forward, abide by Indigenous laws and protocols and go back to their communities for consultation, engagement, reflection and dialogue.

“We’ve reclaimed this as a different type of ceremonial space,” George-Jim said. “This entrance and this land will remember what has happened here today and on the days previous.”

Folks have been asked to gather their belongings and pack up.

READ ALSO: Police arrest five at B.C. Legislature after discussions ‘break down’ with Indigenous relations minister

On Wednesday night, five members of the group occupying the B.C. Legislature building were arrested and removed from the building following a meeting with Scott Fraser, minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation. In a series of social media posts, members of ‘Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en’ said seven of its members were invited to speak with Fraser but that “discussions broke down.”

The office for the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation said the group was invited in on the condition they would leave following the meeting, but that they “reneged on their agreement” after one and a half hours of discussion.

George-Jim said hundreds of people had gathered around the B.C. Legislature building during the incident.

“There were many songs and there were communities of all backgrounds that came together to make sure the people inside knew they were supported,” George-Jim said.

The Victoria Police Department said five people were arrested for mischief, there were no injuries and that “officers used the minimum amount of force needed to safely affect the arrests.”

The five arrested were transported to cells for processing and released on conditions they don’t return to the legislature grounds, according to VicPD.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The steps of the B.C. Legislature building began to empty Thursday as Indigenous youth and supporters packed up. Red dresses from a ceremony in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit folks were on the lawn. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Just Posted

Upper Fraser Valley RCMP re-open community policing offices

CPOs have been closed for weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but re-opened Tuesday

RCMP ask for assistance to find missing Chilliwack man

Raymond Gene Jarvis has been missing since early July

Popkum fire chief urges caution after Saturday rescue from Bridal Veil Falls

11-year-old boy was stable, fire chief Walter Roos said, when delivered to a waiting ambulance

Chilliwack RCMP seeing surge in telephone-based tax scam

Victims are phoned by someone claiming to represent the Canada Revenue Agency, demanding money

Chilliwack Chiefs alum Jordan Kawaguchi named captain of North Dakota Fighting Hawks

The high scoring forward will lead UND into the 2020-21 NCAA Div-1 hockey season

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Thousands of dollars of stolen rice traced to Langley warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

UPDATE: Mission spray park closed after children suffer swollen eyes, burns

Mission RCMP are investigating incident that injured several children

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner brings ‘objectivity’ to the job

Vancouver lawyer Reece Harding is Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner, also a first for B.C.

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

19 times on 19th birthday: Langley teen goes from crutches to conquering Abby Grind

Kaden Van Buren started at midnight on Saturday. By 3 p.m. he had completed the trek 19 times.

Most Read