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

Maple Ridge hunting store sees 200 per cent increase in firearm sales

Co-owner of Wanstalls says increase due to a variety of reasons

Maple Ridge man runs for 25 hours in virtual marathon

Mike Huber was one of 2,400 runners from 64 countries

MAPLE RIDGE AND PITT MEADOWS PLEASE SHARE: Hope for…

Let’s show the world this town is united – full of love and hope

Two-year-old Retriever from Maple Ridge returns home a champion

Rain was honoured with the 17th annual Purina Outstanding Derby Field Trial Retriever Award

IN IT TOGETHER: Join together in sharing gratitude for Canadians

Maple Ridge mom offers series of wellness columns aimed at helping navigate through COVID-19

COVID-19 death toll reaches 50 in B.C., while daily case count steadies

B.C. records 34 new cases in the province, bringing total active confirmed cases to 462

Cancellations of plant orders prompt advent of pop-up garden shops

A Langley nursery is partnering with local eateries to sell 40 acres of veggie plants and flowers

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan, amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

B.C.’s top doctor details prescription for safe long weekend

Yes, it includes hosting an online cooking show

BC SPCA seeks help for abandoned German shepherd puppies

Donations have ‘petered out’ as doors are closed due to COVID-19

Most Read