REGINA — A small group of protesters camping outside the office of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in Regina are demanding that officials with the federal department unlock the office doors and talk to them.
The INAC office has been locked since the original protest began more than a week ago in solidarity with a national movement called OccupyINAC at offices in Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
INAC is offering services at a temporary location at the George Gordon First Nation Urban Office.
While the protests across Canada originally sprang up in response to the suicide crisis on the Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario, organizers in Regina pointed to three reserves in Saskatchewan that also declared mental health crises last month.
The group is also calling attention to the housing issues on many reserves, with one banner describing the camp as "INAC overflow housing."
They plan to stay long term, but on Monday released two specific demands, including that officials reopen the Regina office and that senior staff meet with the protesters.
Last week, an email from INAC media officials said the situation was being monitored on a day-by-day basis but no date had been set for the office to reopen.
CJME, The Canadian Press