City of Saskatoon: Survivors’ Flag and Orange Banner Project unveiled in lead-up to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
September 26, 2022
The City of Saskatoon and Reconciliation Saskatoon are co-hosting a Pipe Ceremony & Survivors’ Flag Raising this morning to start the week that includes the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
“Our objective is to collectively set intentions for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and the Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation,” says Pipe Carrier and Knowledge Keeper, Corine Eyahpaise. “We are coming together to reflect and also to set our sights on a brighter future for every member of this community.”
The flag being raised is the newly unveiled Survivors’ Flag, meant to honour Residential School Survivors and all the lives and communities impacted by the Residential School System in Canada. Each element depicted on the flag was carefully selected by Survivors from across Canada. Eugene Arcand – who attended St. Michael’s Residential School in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan and is now Chair of the Saskatoon Survivors Circle – was one of the Survivors consulted in the flag’s creation.
Eugene Arcand says: “On the flag, there is an incomplete circle that surrounds this image much in the same way that there are still many Truths to be told before we come close to understanding the impact residential schools had on Survivors, communities, and the entire nation. And there is a story yet to be told. We are at a point in time where we have to ask ourselves how we want our future generations to see what actions we have taken towards healing and reconciliation.”
The Survivors’ Flag will be on display in Civic Square (off 23rd St E, between 3rd and 4th Ave N) until Oct. 3, 2022. Note that the Survivors’ Flag, and all flags in Civic Square, will fly at half-mast until Sept. 29 in recognition of Firefighters National Memorial Day and Police & Peace Officers’ National Memorial Day.
Orange Banner Project
During the Pipe Ceremony & Flag Raising, Saskatoon Tribal Chief, Mark Arcand and Saskatoon Mayor, Charlie Clark were invited to speak to the Orange Banner Project. The Orange Banner Project is an initiative to raise awareness about Reconciliation in conjunction with the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It refers to the close to 250 orange banners with Reconciliation messages that were installed on light poles over this past weekend.
“The Orange Banner Project is meant to honour the children that didn’t make it home, the ones who made it home, and the ones that are still lost and away from the home fires,” says Tribal Chief Arcand. “By connecting the west and east sides of the city, the banners signify the need to build bridges throughout our city. It also takes us on a path of recognizing our relatives in the core neighbourhoods, along Spadina Crescent where many churches are located, and by the U of S as a symbol of higher education and a brighter future.”
The banners appear along the following route:
- Starting at 20th Street W where it intersects with Avenue P S
- Continuing east along 20 Street as far as Spadina Crescent E
- Continuing northeast along Spadina Crescent as far as University Bridge
- Restarting on the other side of University Bridge, heading east on College Drive
- Continuing along College Drive until Preston Avenue N
There are 10 different banners, reading as follows:
- Banner #1: More than 150,000 attended residential schools
- Banner #2: Many never returned home
- Banner #3: It isn’t just Indigenous history
- Banner #4: It is our shared history
- Banner #5: We are telling our stories
- Banner #6: Every Child Matters
- Banner #7: Over 160 years of pain
- Banner #8: But together we can heal
- Banner #9: Saskatoon Survivors Circle – ayacimoyok “We are telling our stories”
- Banner # 10: Commitment to Reconciliation [Metis Survivors]
“We wanted to reach as many people in our city as possible with this initiative,” says Mayor Clark. “We hope that people will make some time to walk along a piece of the route and take in the messages and reflect on them. This is an opportunity to continue building awareness and to create a sense of community since Truth and Reconciliation is up to all of us.”
The Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation on Sept. 30 will take place along a portion of the Orange Banner Project route. You can learn more about the Rock Your Roots Walk at saskatoon.ca/Indigenous or by connecting to the Facebook Event.