For the first time in Canadian history, aboriginal flags are flying proudly in front of a government building. Regina is the winning municipality for hoisting the Treaty Four First Nations flag in front of City Hall on October 14, 2011, and the Métis flag on November 15.
The Métis flag’s rising was particularly meaningful, CBC News reported, because Regina is where the aboriginal group’s martyred hero, Louis Riel, was hanged by Canadian authorities in 1885 after being convicted of treason for his role in the Northwest Rebellion.
As for the Treaty 4 First Nations, the flag’s placement is poignant because it realizes the dream of late elder Gordon Oakes, who envisioned just such a cooperative effort when he designed the flag, a descendant of his says in the video below.
“He had said, ‘Let’s have a flag,’ back in the early 80s,” said Larry Oakes, a descendant of Oakes, at the ceremony as broadcast on CBC News. “And nobody really understood why for or why you want to do that. But that’s what he was talking about, that we could see a day like this and see many more like this.”
Treaty 4 represents 34 First Nations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
“And I don’t think I need to say what’s the integral teaching of that flag,” Oakes said. “And what it is is what you’ve shown here today by coming out and supporting and celebrating a very good day like today.”
The raising of each flag was attended by dignitaries from all groups involved, and laden with ceremony. The Treaty 4 First Nations flag-raising is below, and beneath that are scenes from the most momentous day in Métis history a month later.