A teepee camp set up in Saskatoon’s Victoria Park is following all the rules, according to the city and organizers.
Healing Camp for Justice set up in the park last week to call for changes to the foster care system in Saskatchewan.
The camp is being led by Chris Martell, whose toddler son Evander died in 2010 after drowning in scalding-hot bath water in an over-crowded foster home.
Martell was inspired by the Justice for our Stolen Children camp in Regina’s Wascana Park.
However, while the Regina protest camp is digging in against calls for law enforcement to dismantle the teepees — don’t expect that action in Saskatoon.
In a tweet Monday morning, the city said the Healing Camp for Justice had been issued a special events permit.
Camp spokesperson Darla Fourstar said they’ve been working with city officials to ensure they’re following the rules.
“It feels good that they’re supporting us,” she said.
“What we’re doing is healing. There’s no demonstration, there’s no protest.”
The camp began as a lone teepee on July 10, but another has been added along with several tents to shelter food and seating from the elements.
Round dances, drums and healing circles have become part of daily activity at the site.
Fourstar said the gathering has allowed people with traumatic histories to express their pain in a traditional setting.
“It’s powerful. We cry, we talk, we bring things from underneath the rug,” she said.
In its tweet Monday, the city noted as long as members of the camp aren’t sleeping in the park between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., they aren’t violating any bylaws.
Fourstar said they were told only four people could stay at the camp overnight for “security.”
“Through the night there’s our four warriors that keep the (sacred) fire going, and keep the harm away,” she said.
“We’re very lucky for the warriors that have come and let us have a rest.”
The special event permit issued by the city expires Thursday, and Fourstar said they plan to honour it.
Before the teepees are dismantled though, she said they’re planning a final round dance on Wednesday evening as their wrap-up event.