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

Claiming she has COVID-19, stranger coughs in Cloverdale woman’s face

Clayton Heights woman will now self-isolate for the next two weeks

Police watchdog finds cops blameless for deaths in 2019 Surrey hostage-taking

Woman was killed as ERT officers fired on man holding a knife to her throat and ‘what appeared to be’ a gun in his hand

No, Delta police are not pulling over cars to check for social distancing

DPD dispelling rumour cops pulling over vehicles with two or more people, checking IDs, issuing fines

White Rock/South Surrey experts launch website of mental-health resources

Together White Rock/South Surrey aims to help ease the search for supports

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

VIDEO: Dog missing in Lower Mainland since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Most Read