Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre targeted a second time

Photo by Samantha Butler-Hassan

Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre (4D) on Queen’s University campus has once again been targeted, in a manner similar to a previous suspected hate crime that occurred on the premises in June.

On the night of Friday, Jul. 24, 4D Director Kandice Baptiste said she received a call from Queen’s campus security asking about damage to the tipi on the centre’s Barrie St. property. Upon inspection, she said, a newly made tear about five feet long was discovered along the seam of the tipi.

The discovery came just two days after Kingston Police had asked the public for help in their investigation of an earlier attack on the centre. Between June 29 and 30, police report that five flags hanging outside the 4D building were intentionally sliced in half. Police suspected that act was a hate crime, describing it as a deliberate, symbolic affront to the Indigenous nations and LGBTQ2S+ communities represented by the flags. 

“I am tired,” wrote Baptiste on the 4D Facebook page on July 29, after the new damage to the tipi was discovered. “We are tired at 4D. I cannot find words that are eloquent or articulate enough to express our deep anger, frustration, and sadness.”

“These ongoing acts demonstrate that 4D is being targeted, in my opinion, for our vocal and visible stance on protecting the sacredness of Indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ folks and communities,” Baptiste wrote. “When we do this work, it comes with great responsibility and risk – it is time the Queen’s community begins to understand this risk.”

Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre is an on-campus hub for Indigenous students. According to Queen’s, the cultural counselling, academic advising services, and programming offered at 4D help Indigenous students to connect with one another and build a strong community.

In response the crimes, Queen’s has installed security cameras, floodlights, and reportedly taken additional measures to keep the centre and the property safe. Baptiste noted that the tipi was being repaired with assistance from the Elders in the Office of Indigenous Initiatives. The damaged flags have also been replaced and permanently installed inside the building. 

“If the people committing these acts think that it will stop me from calling out racism, homophobia, and transphobia, and all other hateful and parasitic views in our society, then they must not know who I am and who my team is,” Baptiste’s statement read.

“Our ancestors come from the breath of the Creator and we are connected to them at all times. We are connected to their strength, resilience, strategic thinking, resourcefulness, and most importantly to their love. And I will take my ancestors, my community, my family, and my team over anyone, and anything, any day of the week,” she wrote.

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark F. Green, Principal & Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane and Kanonhysonne (Janice Hill), Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation), Office of Indigenous Initiatives have also released statements condemning the crimes and offering their support for the 4D community.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Adam Slate at [email protected] or 613-549-4660 ext. 6366. Tips can also be provided anonymously by calling the Kingston Police general number at 613-549-4660 ext. 0 and asking to remain anonymous. Please refer to occurrence number 20-91627 when doing so.

Community resources:

Queen’s students

Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative

Samantha Butler-Hassan is a staff writer and life-long Kingston resident. She is a news junkie and mom who loves reading and exploring the community. This article has been made possible with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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