Teepee set up at the foot of Parliament Hill will remain until

first_img(A teepee is sitting at the foot of Parliament Hill, not where organizers wanted it further up towards the Peace Tower, in the heart of Canada 150 celebrations.) Mark Blackburn APTN National NewsAs rain poured down, Jocelyn Wabano-Iahtail addressed the media outside a teepee set up at the foot of Parliament Hill, on unceded Algonquin territory, the day after a run in with RCMP and Hill security staff.“You have been speaking for 524 years,” Wabano-Iahtail told the reporter, and to Canadians. “It’s our turn to talk and it’s time for you to listen.”At times, Iahtail is having to speak over rehearsals on a giant stage set up for the Canada Day concert set for Saturday up at the top of the hill, where the group wanted to erect the teepee.Moments before Wabano-Iahtail’s interview, her group abruptly ended a news conference after being “disrespected” by a member of the national media, and where she declared a state of emergency over the state of Indigenous communities in Canada.“We’re declaring a state of crisis in what’s happening here in what you know as Canada, that there is a hunt taking place on our Indigenous human beings,” she said. The agenda of the news conference covered water, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and Canada’s 150 celebrations.(Johnny Wabigwan, from Thessalon First Nation, is in handcuffs at a detainment tent on Parliament Hill. Photo: Jorge Barrera/APTN)Most on the podium at the news conference went face to face with the RCMP and Parliament Hill security Wednesday night and into the wee hours Thursday as they marched onto the Hill to set up the teepee.For a couple hours the teepee poles were physically stopped by Parliament Hill security officers, who are now overseen by the RCMP.The Hill security officers clung to the front end of the poles held aloft by supporters of the Bawating water protectors who drove down from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., to launch the ceremonial action.Ten people were arrested during the clash.(Brendan Nahwegezhic outside the teepee on Parliament Hill. Photo: Mark Blackburn/APTN) “We had to fight to celebrate our traditions,” said Brendan Nahwegezhic from Batchewana First Nation, near Sault Ste Marie. “I had to explain this to the RCMP. We were met with conflict … we did not mean any harm. I hear about equality all the time, but where is it? People in our communities are living in poverty.”On Saturday at 4 p.m., as hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flood downtown Ottawa to celebrate Canada Day, the teepee is going to be moved.“With hundreds of thousands of people, settler people in this area, it’s going to be really dangerous to be Indigenous on Canada day,” said Freddy Stoneypost from Sagamok Anishnawbek. “Especially in downtown Ottawa.”Officials have not told the group that there are threats – Stoneypost said as a group they felt it was best to leave Parliament Hill.He said it will be replaced.“It’s called a Die-in,” he said. “It’s kind of like a human installation, human performance art.”(Candace Day Neveau at a news conference on Parliament Hill Thursday. “How can I celebrate Canada 150? She asked. Photo: Mark Blackburn/APTN) Candace Day Neveau, who was part of the group who fought to get the teepee on the hill, said the government had an opportunity to get the Canada 150 celebrations right by making reconciliation a big part of July 1 celebrations.“How can I celebrate Canada 150 when our children live like they do?” asked Day Neveau. “Celebrating Canada 150 is hard because of what has happened to our people … we will be celebrating Indigenous people who are pushing back.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was on Prince Edward Island Thursday.The push to get a teepee on Parliament Hill comes a week after the federal Liberals announced that it is taking the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to federal court to “clarify” rulings ordering the government to comply with its demands to fix the First Nation child welfare system.Speaking at a curling rink packed with Islanders, Trudeau said he recognizes that Indigenous Canadians may not be celebrating in the same way as others across the country.Trudeau told the crowd in Montague that “the history of the last 150 years for Indigenous peoples has not been as positive.”A ceremony is planned for Thursday 6 p.m. at the teepee.-with files from the Canadian Presslast_img