Land Back Camp organizers petitioning cities for ceremony land, paid positions for Indigenous people
KITCHENER -- Organizers of the Land Back Camp in Victoria Park have started a petition, listing four demands to the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo.
The camp has been set up since National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. Organizers say the camp started to take back land that historically belonged to the Indigenous community. This week, the group launched a petition to set up negotiations with city officials. One of the camp’s requests is land in Victoria Park.
"What I've generally herd over the years is, we need an urban space that's accessible for most Indigenous folks," camp organizer Amy Smoke said. "Historically, this being a site for a huge hub of activity of all nations, that would be completely relevant to that."
The petition lists four demands including:
- Waiving all fees for the Indigenous community hosting events in public spaces
- Giving land in Victoria Park and Waterloo Park back to Indigenous people to hold traditional ceremonies
- Demanding both cities create paid positions for Indigenous people at all levels
- Asking the cities to create a paid Indigenous advisory committee to work with city officials to help address issues in the community
Kitchener Mayor Barry Vrbanovic and Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky said they're reviewing the group's demands.
"Wee are very committed to moving them forward," Vrbanovic said. "These are obviously issues that have taken some time. There were some that we were able to operationalize immediately, but others need us to dialogue with our partners with council and so on."
"We want to do this right, so we have our hearts in the right place, our heads in the right place," Jaworsky said. "It will take us some time to really take action. We have staff looking into it right now."
The protesters said they plan to remain in the park until their demands are met.