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It was “somewhat humiliating and inappropriate,” said Sarnia city councilor Brian White to welcome local First Nations representatives to traditional Aboriginal lands on the Sarnia waterfront on Saturday.

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A gathering of dignitaries was in Flag Square, built earlier this year, for its official unveiling.

The flags of Walpole Island, Aamjiwnaang, and the Kettle and Stony Point First Nations – representing signatories to Crown Treaty 29, known as the Huron Tract of 1827 – were originally hoisted in June in the meeting point just south of the Duke of Quai d’Orléans II.

The flags of the Kettle and Stony Point, Walpole Island and Aamjiwnaang First Nations are pictured in the First Nations Flag Square in Sarnia on September 25, 2021. (Tyler Kula / The Observer) jpg, then

On Saturday they were bred again, one by one, followed by traditional dancing and drumming.

The official ceremony was delayed from June to ensure safety amid COVID-19, so it coincided closely with the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, said Candace Young, president of UNDRIP Sarnia. (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) was the source of the realization of the flag court vision.

It is hoped that this will be a gathering place for ceremonies and an opportunity for people to learn more about local First Nations history, she said.

Signs depicting this story will be permanently installed next month, said White, a council representative on the committee. Temporary versions were in place on Saturday.

Traditional First Nations dancing and drumming were part of the opening ceremony at the Flag Court along the Sarnia waterfront.  (Tyler Kula / The Observer)
Traditional First Nations dancing and drumming were part of the opening ceremony at the Flag Court along the Sarnia waterfront. (Tyler Kula / The Observer) jpg, then

The $ 52,000 project, White said, includes the Medicine Wheel that embodies the four directions, as well as Father’s Heaven, Mother Earth, and the Spirit Tree – all symbolizing the dimensions of health and cycles. of life.

Representatives of First Nations communities expressed their gratitude and called this a step towards reconciliation, following the cultural genocide that included Canada’s residential school system.

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“This ongoing partnership is how we’re going to get there,” said Aamjiwnaang Coun. Rising Lareina.

“And through these daily interactions – through a personal commitment to learn and understand each other’s position, perspective, our goals, objectives, not only personally but for our communities – I think that’s what’s going to happen. really bring us into this age of reconciliation.

What the UNDRIP committee tackles next depends on what the wider community thinks, White said, noting that the flag’s place was one of the first goals he had after his formation about four years ago. years.

Aamjiwnaang elder Lynn Roseles leads a prayer in front of the First Nations Flag Square at the official opening of Sarnia.  (Tyler Kula / The Observer)
Aamjiwnaang elder Lynn Roseles leads a prayer in front of the First Nations Flag Square at the official opening of Sarnia. (Tyler Kula / The Observer) jpg, then

“I think a deep level of community consultation is our next major step so that many of the big issues we are discussing can be fully developed as a community,” he said.

Holding a summit to discuss the issues has been a goal of the committee for a number of years, although some of the goals have been delayed amid COVID-19, Young said.

It is hoped that the committee will also have its say on a number of matters that will be brought before city council, she said.

The Sarnia-Lambton Native Friendship Center, meanwhile, is planning an Every Child Counts walk on September 30 from 10 am to 11:30 am from City Hall.

The town hall will be illuminated in orange for the day.

The Aamjiwnaang First Nation is also organizing a member bus trip to Ottawa for the Remember Me: A National Day of Remembrance event.

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Sarnia firefighter and Aamjiwnaang First Nation member Brian Bois, left, and Sarnia police officers.  and Uriah Dodge, a member of the Walpole Island First Nation, hoist the Aamjiwnaang flag at the First Nations Flag Plaza in Sarnia on September 25, 2021. (Tyler Kula / The Observer)
Sarnia firefighter and Aamjiwnaang First Nation member Brian Bois, left, and Sarnia police officers. and Uriah Dodge, a member of the Walpole Island First Nation, hoist the Aamjiwnaang flag at the First Nations Flag Plaza in Sarnia on September 25, 2021. (Tyler Kula / The Observer) jpg, then