Land Back Camp at Laurel Creek Conservation Area vandalized
Move after move, the Land Back Camp has faced acts of vandalism, and it's happened again at the group's new Laurel Creek Conservation Area home.
Camp co-founder Amy Smoke says racial violence and vandalism have followed them from their previous sites in Victoria Park and Waterloo Park to their latest location.
"Folks have been walking through here, they shout out racial slurs every once in a while," Smoke said. "I drove through at 10 o'clock at night, everything seemed fine and we woke up in the morning, things were missing and things had been vandalized."
Smoke called the recent vandalism concerning, adding the camp doesn't want a night watch crew anymore.
One of the recent incidents was caught on camera. In the video, a man can be seen folding and tossing one of the Land Back Camp's signs.
Campers have also found signs, fencing and solar lights broken and thrown in the middle of the bush.
"We have found a number of them, there's a few missing, and then most recently the spray paint has gone up on a sign that GRCA provided," Smoke said.
The Grand River Conservation Authority says it's aware of some negative interactions between Land Back Camp and visitors to the park, adding the incidents have been reported to Waterloo regional police.
"We are reminding all visitors that GRCA Conservation areas are places to enjoy nature and gather peacefully," reads a statement from the GRCA. "They are meant to be inclusive where all visitors feel safe and respected. Disrespectful behaviour toward any group or individual will not be tolerated and may result in ban or eviction."
Land Back Camp aims to create a welcoming space for urban Indigenous and two-spirited youth to exercise their treaty rights.
"Leave us alone, let us do what we need to do on our land," Smoke said.