Reconciliation flag raising ceremony marks beginning of National Indigenous History Month in Saskatoon

A reconciliation flag raising ceremony was held at Saskatoon Civic Square Friday morning to help kick off National Indigenous History Month in June.

“This is kind of a wake up call to the City of Saskatoon, saying we’re still about reconciliation and we still want everyone to come together,” said Shirley Isbister, president of Central Urban Metis Federation Incorporated (CUMFI), who helped organize the event.

This marks the fifth year of the flag raising ceremony, which is a symbol to start the month of honouring residential school survivors and others in the Indigenous community.

It comes after a difficult year since the discovery of hundreds of unmarked children’s graves on former residential school sites across Canada.

“The discoveries shook the country and what it brought to survivors and communities is that finally what they’ve been saying for years has been recognized,” Isbister said.

“You had a lot of people who didn’t believe those stories of the unmarked graves and this was a real wake up call for our country and so, when we talk about reconciliation, we have to remember all of those things.”

A pipe ceremony started things off early Friday morning followed by speakers, music and dance.

Eugene and Lorna Arcand were honoured at the event for the work they’ve done for truth and reconciliation in Saskatchewan.

“Always been involved right from the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) and in the community and they were the leadership in getting Saskatoon Reconciliation together and then definitely the leaders in getting the reconciliation flag,” Isbister said.

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark was also on hand to express his appreciation for the pair.

He said the City is continuing to do its part to move towards reconciliation.

“Recognizing and saying we hear your story and we’re going to make sure that this doesn’t happen to any other children again, you know, I think is why this is important,” he told CTV News.

Rock The Roots Walk for Reconciliation is one of the main events happening during National Indigenous History Month.

It takes places in Saskatoon on June 21 to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day.

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