“Defending tent city is a fight for our lives”: Residents of Camp Namegans speak out as the City of Saanich applies for a Supreme Court injunction

Camp Namegans

UNCEDED LEKWUNGEN TERRITORY (SAANICH): The City of Saanich has served Camp Namegans with a notice that they have applied for a Supreme Court injunction to displace their tent city. For two months, the Indigenous-led tent city has provided a home, community, and a place for healing for over 90 Indigenous and non-Indigenous homeless people who were previously dispersed across Saanich and Victoria.

What: Press conference
When: 11am, Wednesday July 25, 2018
Where: Camp Namegans: Regina Park (at the end of Regina Ave), Saanich

Homeless people have found home at Camp Namegans. Much like tent cities across the province, Camp Namegans residents stay in the tent city because it is safer than being alone on the streets. City bylaws that limit camping to night time hours force homeless people into cycles of daily displacement where they suffer police and bylaw harassment and theft of their belongings, which exacerbates their physical, mental, and emotional stress.

According to Chrissy Brett, Nuxalk woman and founder of the tent city, Camp Namegans is more than shelter – it is also a sanctuary for homeless Indigenous people who have been dispossessed of their national ties by Canada. “I am standing on my Indigenous right to use land for cultural ceremony,” she said. “Much like Canada recognizes the churches’ right to provide religious sanctuary, Indigenous people should have the same right to provide political sanctuary for those without homes.” Approximately half of Camp Namegans is Indigenous people who are dispossessed of their home territories and national connections. Displaced from housing, they find sanctuary from both national dispossession and economic displacement in Camp Namegans.