A sign of acknowledgement and acceptance
The Mi’kmaq Grand Council flag now has a permanent home on the Saint Mary’s campus, along side the Canadian and provincial flags that fly in front of the McNally Building.
The flag-raising followed a special meeting between members of the Sɨkɨpne’katik (Shubenacadie) District Grand Council, Saint Mary’s senior executive and Board of Governors member Chief Bob Gloade on Aug 2. Dr. Trudy Sable arranged the meeting in her capacity as Community Engaged Research Facilitator to uphold the university’s 2010 MOU with the Grand Council and to discuss further partnership and research opportunities. Friends and supporters – including Raymond Sewell, Indigenous Student Advisor, SMUSA President Ossama Nasrallah and Isaiah Bernard, co-president of the Saint Mary’s University Indigenous Society – also attended.
“To see our flag side-by-side with the Canadian and Nova Scotian flags, nation to nation, is very significant to us,” said Grand Chief Ron Knockwood, District Chief of the Mi'kmaq Grand Council, Sɨkɨpne’katik District. “It acknowledges our nation and our presence.”
Keptin Russell Julian, Grand Council member, Sɨkɨpne’katik District said the flag would also be a source of pride for the community, a welcoming sight for Indigenous students, and a way to spark conversations. “People will see it and maybe start asking questions – Why is it there? What is that flag for? It’s an opportunity to educate.”
“This is symbolic of our relationship moving forward, and the university’s commitment to fostering an environment that reflects and honours the cultures, histories and traditions of the Indigenous community,” said Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray.