Walking with our Angels expected to leave Wascana Park in September
REGINA -- The organizer behind Walking with our Angels says he will leave Wascana Park as soon as his ceremonial fast is complete.
Tristen Durocher announced on Monday he will stay at the green space across from the legislative building until Sept. 13.
He arrived to the grounds on July 31 after walking on foot from La Ronge. He has been demanding action on suicide prevention.
He said he will stay even if a court injunction causes Regina police to remove the tipi.
“I’ll be here until my fast is complete,” he said. “This has become a pilgrimage site for grieving people across the province of Saskatchewan. They come and leave tobacco by portraits of their loved ones. They come and pray.”
On Wednesday, Durocher met with Rural and Remote Health Minister Warren Kaeding and Northern and Indigenous Affairs Minister Lori Carr.
He said the ministers showed no willingness to make changes on suicide prevention.
“This has always been more ceremonial with political implications, but the political aspect died when the ministers with the power to do something left my tipi after telling me, ‘We are doing enough, good bye,’” Durocher said.
The province has previously said the ministers appreciate Durocher’s advocacy.
It said the government is investing more than $1.2 million in new funding for suicide prevention.
Durocher expressed his disappointment with that announcement.
“$1.2 million could not even cover the travel accounts of five psychiatrists for the year, and that’s his big plan for the province with the highest suicide rates in Canada per capita? It’s simply not good enough,” he said.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations announced it will hold a press conference on Tuesday at the Walking with our Angels site.
Durocher is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 13 in response to Wascana park bylaw infractions.
He said he plans to appeal if the bylaws are enforced. He said the Canadian charter right to peaceful assembly supersedes the bylaws.