Unifor committee’s tipi building exercise takes place on Wascana Park lawn

Reginans may notice more tipis being erected in Wascana Park on Thursday across from the Saskatchewan legislature.

It’s part of a team building exercise organized by the Unifor 1-S Aboriginal and Workers of Colour Committee to learn how to set up tipis and learn more about Indigenous culture. The group obtained a permit from the Provincial Capital Commission to erect up to five tipis on the green space east of the gardens across from the legislative building.

Don Wren, executive director of the committee, said their original request was to set up on the west lawn where the Walking With Our Angels camp currently stands. The PCC didn’t allow it.

“They were concerned about the other camp and I’m okay with that,” explained Wren.

“We’re separate from the actions of the Walking With Our Angels camp. However we support the message they are trying to send to the Saskatchewan Party government.”

Wren said one of his goals with the team building exercise is to bring awareness to the issues that are faced by Indigenous peoples.

He mentioned how he spoke to Tristen Durocher, the main organizer of Walking With Our Angels, about his committee’s plans on Thursday. Wren told him they will do everything they can to offer support.

“We have a phrase in the union movement called “solidarity” and that is what we are here for. We’re here to stand and support someone who has a cause we think is worthy and deserving of attention,” added Wren.

“[The government] hasn’t done enough to address the issues that the people at the group have identified and I don’t know what more it’s going to take to get them to pay attention.”

Durocher, who walked down from La Ronge to Regina in July, has been on a hunger strike for the past few weeks at his tipi on the west lawn. He is pushing the province to provide enhanced mental health supports and address Saskatchewan’s high suicide rates.

It is expected that Durocher will be leaving Wascana Park on Sunday, September 13.

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