Support of Camp: Justice for Our Stolen Children
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It is with urgency that we, as concerned citizens of Turtle Island, aka Canada, write to you expressing our full support for and solidarity with Camp: Justice For Our Stolen Children.
Since the Camp was established on February 28, Camp members have been calling for systemic changes to the province’s child welfare and justice systems—changes that would ultimately lead to some “justice for our stolen children.”
➢ THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM
Many people in Saskatchewan are rightly outraged by Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant children from their families. But where is our outrage at Saskatchewan’s own child-family separation policy.
● 80% of the children in state care in Saskatchewan are Indigenous. Only 30% of Saskatchewan’s child population is Indigenous.
● Today, there are more Indigenous children in state care in Saskatchewan than at the height of the residential school system.
➢ THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
Statistics Canada data released last month show Indigenous youth make up a similarly disproportionate percentage of incarcerated youth in Saskatchewan: 92% for boys and 98% for girls. Saskatchewan has the highest rate of Indigenous youth incarceration in the country.
As Camp members have pointed out, these figures are a direct result of the systemic racism that exists in the province’s social services and justice systems.
We were pleased when, on July 2, representatives of the provincial government met with Camp members to discuss these urgent matters. We are, however, dismayed that Minister of Justice Don Morgan is now saying that the tipis must be taken down before he will agree to another meeting with the Camp.
Camp: Justice For Our Stolen Children is a peaceful camp. Moreover, it is performing an extremely valuable service to our city and our province: educating us about the past and present injustices that define the relationship between settler Canadians and Indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan.
The undersigned therefore call upon the Government of Saskatchewan to “show some good faith”:
1. To extend a warm welcome to Camp: Justice For Our Stolen Children, rather than attempting to drive the Camp from the Legislative grounds.
2. To thank Camp members for the educational service they are providing, free of charge, to the people of Saskatchewan.
3. To be willing to hold regular meetings with Camp members.
4. To take advantage of the educational opportunity provided by the camp and to open their minds and hearts to the lessons offered.
5. To begin to work in earnest to make the systemic changes called for by Camp: Justice For Our Stolen Children.
We look forward to hearing from you.
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