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'A truly significant moment': First Nations, Metis flags take permanent residency outside Winnipeg city hall

Ceremonial flag raising at Winnipeg City Hall puts Dakota First Nations, Treaty One First Nations and Metis Nation flags on permanent display, Sept. 15 (Dan Timmerman, CTV News) Ceremonial flag raising at Winnipeg City Hall puts Dakota First Nations, Treaty One First Nations and Metis Nation flags on permanent display, Sept. 15 (Dan Timmerman, CTV News)
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Winnipeg -

Three flags have taken their permanent positions outside city hall as a symbol of Winnipeg’s ongoing commitment to Indigenous reconciliation.

A flag raising ceremony Wednesday morning sent three flags to the sky, representing Treaty One First Nations, Dakota Nations and the Metis Nation.

“We hope that the flags flying before city hall will be a visible statement of solidarity and respect,” said City of Winnipeg CAO Michael Jack.

In his opening remarks Mayor Brian described significance of the three flags. The white buffalo calf on the flag of the Dakota Nation of Manitoba symbolize sacred new beginnings.

Treaty One’s First Nation’s flag of a brilliant sun above a ground of blue and green reminds people the treaty will remain as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the water flows.

The Metis Nation’s infinity flag signifies different cultures living in harmony forever.

Indigenous flag raising at Winnipeg City Hall Sept. 15 (Dan Timmerman, CTV News)

“They truly offer us images of beauty and images of power, images that can nourish resiliance of hope throughout our community,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Images that belong right here, in the seat of civic decision making because the people they represent belong right here.”

Metis, Treaty One and Dakota leaders were on-hand for the ceremonial flag raising, including Chief Dennis Meeches from Long Plain First Nation. He stressed the importance of everyone coming together, but said more work needs to be done.

“It’s been a long fight and a long journey for the treaty One Nations, Dakota Nations and Metis people but we celebrate the life our creator has given us, the blessings , even though we have struggled most of any people in this country,” said Meeches.

Grand Chief Arlen Dumas from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs reflected on his youth growing up in a remote and isolated community, and compared how far Indigenous reconciliation efforts have come.

“Here we are, light years ahead. I can tell you that I never would have imagined that we would be standing here together in solidarity, in light of the difficult history we’ve had,” said Dumas.

“It is a truly significant moment and to paraphrase our Dakota chiefs, this is what reconciliation really is, when we work together to bring forward in a meaningful way.”

Bowman said other reconciliation efforts are ongoing including the renaming of Bishop Grandin Boulevard. He also noted the economic reconciliation possibilities with the development of the property formally known as Kapyong and the city’s Indigenous Accord.

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