Supporters stand by Durocher during court appearance

Tristen Durocher's Tipi stands in Wascana Park with the Saskatchewan Legislature in the background. Photo by Marjorie Roden/Herald Contributor

Marjorie Roden/Herald Contributor

Friday morning saw Tristen Durocher in the Regina Court of Queen’s Bench in a case against the Provincial Capital Commission to try and evict him and his tipi from Wascana Park. However, the camp was not left alone, as supporters stayed at the camp for the day.

“I was one of the founders for the Justice for Our Stolen Children camp, so I’m very familiar on how the government plans on dealing with Tristen,” stated supporter Prescott Demas.

“I do know what the government is taking them to court on, the eviction notice….Our Stolen Children camp was a protest camp, admittedly, and that’s what their precedence is, but this one here is different. Tristen is in ceremony, fasting, and it’s stated, he’s got a start date and an end date.”

Arden Ballantyne, one of the members of the Walking With Our Angels, agreed with Dumas’ statement, adding “I think the outcome of this case, on the Saskatchewan Party’s side, is bogus because us, as Indigenous individuals, have the freedom to express ourselves through ceremony, and this is a ceremonial tipi, not a protest tipi. I believe that, in all essence, the Government of Saskatchewan is going to lose the case, regardless of the verdict, and I don’t think there’ll be an eviction, because like I said, this is a ceremonial place, this is a ceremony that’s going on, and Tristen is on day 36 of 44, so any force to be used would be ill advised on the Saskatchewan Party’s side, not only from looking bad in the media, but looking bad for the election coming up.”

Dumas stated, “(Tristen’s) going to ask Scott Moe to adopt Bill 618. The ceremony has got an end date, so the court date runs so close to the end of Tristen’s actual end date. I don’t think the decision is going to be handed out today, I think it’s going to run into next week which is going to run into a couple of days before Tristen’s end date, and it becomes a moot point, To kick him out so close to his end date…it’s just the government using the Provincial Capital Commission as a tool to silence his voice, to get him out of the way because he’s here raising awareness.” 

Ballantyne added, “I don’t believe there will be an outcome made today. It’ll be a process, and the verdict should be reached by the end of this weekend. I just want to add that for reasons of Tristen’s ceremony, we are lighting a beacon for those that need help. Mentally, spiritually, and physically, we are fighting for those in the north who don’t have programs implemented to help them and this is an epidemic in the north, and we don’t forget anybody who is suffering from mental illness and that believes their life is worth less than it actually should be. We’re not giving up on you.”

Upon his return to his camp at about 5 pm, Durocher was not available for comment as he returned to his tipi for meditation and contemplation. The court case saw the Provincial Commission represented by a team of four lawyers, while Durocher was represented by Indigenous lawyer Eleanore Sunchild. A verdict is expected sometime next week.