CTV News | June 29, 2017
Demonstrators looked to stage a peaceful protest by erecting a teepee on Parliament Hill Wednesday night, as the city gears up for Canada Day events.
A group of roughly 80 people carrying poles for a teepee tent were stopped by RCMP, Ottawa Police and Parliament Hill security at about 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Police held on to the poles in an attempt to stop the group from entering the Parliament Hill grounds.
Activists told reporters they wanted to have a sacred fire for four days on the Hill, and were looking to protest the Canada 150 celebrations.
“This discrimination, this stereotyping and dehumanization of our people needs to stop,” said Jocelyn Wabano-Iahtail, one of the protest organizers.
The group has refused to leave and asked police, “Do you want another Oka?” in reference to the Oka Crisis, a land dispute between a group of Mohawk people and the town of Oka, Que..
Members say their intention was to bring the teepee on to the Hill and begin four days of prayer by indigenous groups to raise awarenesss about their treatment by the Canadian government.
“We understand that as a country, people have pride that they’re living here,” said Candace Day Neveau, one of the lead organizers. “We’re taking a stance to simply educate and raise awareness about celebrating Canada Day and how it’s deeply impacting indigenous people.”
Nine people were briefly arrested by RCMP before being released later in the night.