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

West Kootenay residents stranded in Peru seek a way home

Three West Kootenay residents are in remote places, unable to get to Lima’s international airport

West Kootenay couple escapes Spain – safe, sound, and in self-isolation

BC couple Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

All Kootenay Boundary parks and outdoor facilities closed

RDKB reminds all residents the shutdown is for public safety and in response to COVID-19

Trail police investigating early morning brush fire

Call of trees on fire came into Kootenay Boundary fire department just before 1:30 a.m.

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Cruise ships, one with COVID-19 on board, carry Canadians covertly through Panama Canal

Zaandam, Rotterdam pass through canal under cover of darkness in face of local protests

’The energy sector is destroyed beyond repair’: expert on COVID-19’s impact on economy

‘That’s never been heard of before; no one sells oil for $4 a barrel.’ – Dan McTeague

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Kootenay Meadows Farm experiencing shortage of glass milk bottles

Some grocery stores have stopped accepting bottle returns amid COVID-19 concerns

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Most Read