More than 20 people gathered outside Prince Rupert City Hall on July 1 to demonstrate their opposition to celebrating the Canada Day national holiday. The gathering was held in long-distance unison with hundreds of people rallying across the country, organizers said.
Local participants, with their drumming, singing and waving of posters, generated supportive response from passersby with car horns being honked from vehicle traffic, and applause from foot traffic.
Prince Rupert event organizers Krissy Lewis and her cousin Donna Pahl put the three hour event together at the city fountain to align with an Idle No More demonstration at the Vancouver Art Gallery held at the same time.
“This is a solidarity movement … The story behind it is basically how First Nations people feel so torn about Canada Day because to us, it’s just a reminder of the genocide that we went through and how we were colonized,” Lewis said.
“Until there is justice there is no reason to celebrate,” Pahl said.
The Idle No More Facebook page stated the demonstrations were intended to honour Indigenous lives lost to the Canadian State, and to maintain public awareness of issues affecting First Nations communities past and present, including the murdered and missing Indigenous Women and Girls, and police brutality.
“We want to raise awareness of the systemic racism that is rampant in the country right now,” Lewis said.
RCMP Senior Media Relations Officer Janelle Shoihet, said the demonstration was very peaceful with people holding signs, singing and drumming.
“That’s my type of protest. Everybody gets an opportunity to say their piece and respect the rights for them to say their piece… there were no issues related to that.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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