And across Canada, a protest for indigenous rights is sweeping across the provinces, as First Nations communities have occupied a series of government buildings. The movement is dubbed “Occupy INAC“—a reference to the Ministry of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Activists are demanding the Canadian government address youth suicides in First Nations communities, as well as water and housing crises in their territories. Over the last week, protesters have set up occupations inside and outside the government offices in Toronto, Regina, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Gatineau, Quebec. Earlier this week, 10 people locked themselves together inside the Toronto office, while Kayla Sutherland of the Attawapiskat First Nation spoke to a rally outside.
Kayla Sutherland: “Why don’t you learn something from the indigenous people and change things? It will help everyone. Canada, we respect human rights when we accomplish this, because right now we’re violating those rights. We say reconciliation as if colonization is not over. Colonization is continuing. And that, we must admit to and change.”
The Attawapiskat First Nation saw 28 suicide attempts last month within a population of 2,000 people.