To the northern hemisphere of the world, last Tuesday was the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. But more specifically to Canadians, it was the 20th National Aboriginal Day.
Since 1996, the 21st of June has marked the national Aboriginal day. For decades, Indigenous communities celebrated their heritage on this day due to the significance of it being the summer solstice.
The date became a milestone for Canadians to celebrate the culture and achievements of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people.
With such a long legacy, it was only natural to see Indigenous art and history making its mark on flags in Canada.
Here are some interesting stories on Native flags:
The Métis flag:
One of the iconic Indigenous flags is the Métis Nation flag. Its beauty is in its simplicity and depth. With an infinity symbol before a blue background, the symbol represents the joining of two cultures, the Indigenous and the European. The symbol also represents the infinity in belief that the Métis culture shall live forever.
The Nunavut flag:
When Nunavut officially became a Canadian territory in 1999, the first order of business was adopting a unique flag. Visually, the Nunavut flag is definitely the most Indigenous among all the Canadian provinces and territories. With a striking yellow and white background, the symbolic Inuksuk stone monument takes the centre of the flag. Historically, the Inuksuk guided people to their land, and marked sacred and special places in Indigenous communities. On the right corner of the flag is the North Star, a traditional guide for navigation and a symbol of elders’ leadership in the community.
The Canadian Native flag:
One of our proudest moments was when Susan Braverman, the president of The Flag Shop, worked with Curtis to bring his design for a flag to represent First Nations in Canada to the public.
The Flag Shop is the manufacturer and exclusive distributor of this flag. Not only it is a beautiful flag, but it’s also a symbol of a unified Canada that revels on diversity.
Here’s how Wilson described it: “The two designs on the red side bands are K’utala-Salmon. Salmon seemed the perfect way to convey the importance of family, friendships, and strength in numbers. There are as many types of people living here in Canada as there are types of salmon. I would like see us coming together in the future, not only my First Nations people, but all of Canada. The design within the maple leaf is a head of a killer whale in the shape of an oval. The killer whale head is surrounded by some traditional use designs called split “U” shapes.”
Our relationship with Indigenous flags and events go back farther than the first National Aboriginal Day in 1996.
From manufacturing the flags for the Stó:lō nation in Chilliwack, to the iconic flag of the Tsawwassen First Nation, to the beautiful Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation flag in Yukon. Our relationship with the Indigenous nations goes back to the 1970’s.
Most recently, we produced flags and banners for the North American Indigenous games that took place in Regina, Saskatchewan.
It was a proud moment for many Indigenous young athletes to carry these flags up high, and it brought us a lot of joy to say that we were part of these special moments.
Making flags means being a part of something, and for that we are proud to be a part of the rich and diverse Indigenous community of Canada.
Until next time,
Communications & Social Media Manager