Garrett Smith has been waking up in a tent in the middle of downtown Calgary for a week.
The idea of camping outside the courthouse was a response to the recent murder trials of Gerald Stanley and Raymond Cormier and their not guilty verdicts in the deaths of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine.
But little did Smith know that staying there would become a hearing journey.
“I never really knew who I was. The missing link, I realized, is I just need to get in touch with my culture,” said Smith. “I need to get in touch with Niitsitapi and who we are as Blackfoot. And this is really what this journey is.”
It’s the second camp to go up at the courthouse following the separate verdicts.
This new one has given Smith to open up about his past and time behind bars.
“There’s a level of guilt that we as Indigenous men, I believe is just inherent in us. It’s passed down, it’s a blood memory we’ve had from everything we’ve endured,” he said, who is Blackfoot from southern Alberta.
“I don’t think prison helped me. But it really opened my eyes to how flawed the justice system is and how all these colonial structures and all of these settler workshops designed from a settler perspective to help heal our people. They don’t address the needs that we as Indigenous people need.”