To: Minister of Justice, Don Morgan; Minister of Social Services, Paul Marriman; and Deputy Minister of Central Services, Richard Murray;
This morning, representatives from Camp: Justice for Our Stolen Children, along with other organizations and members of our community, extended an invitation to you to meet with them at the camp on June 20, and to participate in a community Blanket Exercise on National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21. The Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG) would like to formally urge you to accept this invitation, and enter into meaningful engagements with the camp and Indigenous peoples.
In the province of Saskatchewan, Indigenous children make up 85% of children in state care, the number of Indigenous children currently in care exceeds the number of children taken by the Residential School system, and is being called the ‘millenial scoop’. Indigenous adults make up a similarly disproportionate percentage of the prison population – it is important to note that many were previously children in the child welfare system but were not given the support or tools needed to succeed after their time in foster care. These numbers are a direct result of policies and practices within your respective ministries and that is why you have been invited to meet with, listen to, and learn from the community at Camp: Justice for Our Stolen Children. These numbers reflect the deeply rooted and systemic racism that exists here in our province, and should serve as a call to the Government of Saskatchewan to take immediate and meaningful action to reduce these statistics.
The community at Camp: Justice for Our Stolen Children are there to hold space for families torn apart by the actions of your respective ministries, and to hold you accountable as leaders, as neighbours, and as Treaty people. As elected members of the legislative assembly, you govern with power afforded you through numbered treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10, as such you have a responsibility to uphold those treaties by honouring Indigenous rights and listening to the voices of Indigenous families, like those represented at the camp, when they tell you what is needed for justice to prevail.
We ask that you respect the camp, and their sacred fire, by lifting the notices of eviction, and by initiating and honouring protocols for discussion. We ask you to do so by leaving your seat of power, and meeting at the camp with humility and respect for the important work that is being done there. We ask that you, and your colleagues and staff, participate in the community Blanket Exercise. This would send a clear message that you are willing to learn and listen.
As National Indigenous Peoples Day approaches, we urge you to recognize the history of this land we inhabit. Do your part to name, take responsibility for, and rectify both the historic and current injustices that mark the relationships between settler and Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan. There can be no reconciliation without justice.
The board, staff, and membership of
The Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG)