Town of Rocky Mountain House celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day by raising Treaty 6 Territory and Métis flags at the town office on Tuesday.
These flags will fly permanently alongside the flags of Canada, Alberta and the town, as a symbol of reconciliation and an inclusive community.
“The raising of the Treaty 6 and Métis flags is a public and permanent recognition of the historical and current contributions to our community from the First Nation and Métis people, and the desire for continued and evolving partnerships to benefit all who reside within Treaty 6 Territory,” said Rocky Mountain House Mayor Tammy Burke in a statement.
“This event solidifies our ongoing commitment to reconciliation, and it is a step toward building a community where racism and hate are not tolerated: A community that is working to understand the complex and painful history and acknowledging our role in ensuring long term change, in partnership and with guidance from our First Nation neighbours, without whom, our community would not be what it is today.”
Burke was joined by O’Chiese First Nation Chief Douglas Beaverbones, Sunchild First Nation Chief Jonathan Frencheater, Métis Local 845 President Bernie Ouellette and their councils and board members.
Elders Theresa Strawberry and Jimmy Littlejohn presided over the ceremony, with Soaring Hawk Drum Group from O’Chiese First Nation providing the Flag Honour and Victory songs.
“It’s a historic moment we have right now, raising these two flags,” said Beaverbones. “I’ve faced racism many, many times. It’s not a good feeling. This reconciliation is a major thing we face daily and I hope we continue to work with each other; say hi to each other when we go to a store and be friendly with each other.
“We need to start working together as one: The Nations, the Métis and the people in town here.”
Frencheater reflected on the pipe ceremony that was used in 1876 when the Treaty was first signed was the same one used in ceremony before the flag raising.
“It’s a beautiful day to see us all gather like this,” he said.