June 20th, 2024

Blackfoot Confederacy flag flies reconciliation over city

By Dale Woodard on September 21, 2021.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard - The permanent raising of the Siksikaitsitapi - Blackfoot Confederacy - flag kicked off Reconciliation Week at a ceremony Monday morning at City Hall.

The spirit of reconciliation will now soar above Lethbridge City Hall permanently.
The permanent raising of the Siksikaitsitapi – Blackfoot Confederacy – flag signaled the official kick-off to Reconciliation Week within the city in a ceremony Monday morning at City Hall.
The City of Lethbridge has made a number of commitments to Truth and Reconciliation, including the new flagpoles outside City Hall which will permanently fly the Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) flag. 
Earlier this year, Lethbridge City Council approved the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Recommendations and Work Plan, which follows a 2017 commitment to address the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“The Blackfoot Confederacy flag that was risen in City Council today is an inspiration to us all,” said Treena Tallow, co-chair for the Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Council. “We’ve been working many, many years to get this flag to where you see it today. So we’re really proud as a committee to be able to bring this to the community and educate our community about Blackfoot territory and bring to light all of the hard work that all the community has come together to bring Indigenous news to the forefront to help address some of those past wrongs that have been heard through history.”
The morning ceremony featured guest speakers including Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman, who was acknowledged for his work towards Indigenous issues, as well as dancers.
“Seeing the Siksikaitsitapi flag flying permanently outside City Hall is a visual reminder of the history of the land we’re located on,” said Spearman in a statement. “I hope the visual sparks conversation, questions and encourages our community to engage in meaningful opportunities to learn about Indigenous culture. Recognition of Truth and Reconciliation is essential now more than ever.”
The City of Lethbridge will officially observe the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation Day Sept. 30 with City facilities closed to honour the importance of the day. This year marks the fifth annual Reconciliation Week.
“We’ve really come a long way,” said Tallow. “I’ve been here for 25 years and from Kainai we’ve really come a long way. Our first Reconciliation Week we were proud to be able to highlight reconciliation, to highlight our relationships of coming together, address some of the issues and look at the past five years to see how much we’ve grown and the work we’ve been able to achieve throughout the years. It’s all a dedication to the mayor, the council, the Lethbridge Reconciliation Advisory Committee and all the staff. All of them coming together to bring forward work like this where everybody in the community can come together and work together to address some of these challenges. So this is very inspirational as far as an Indigenous woman. I really feel proud of the city where we’re going with this direction and I hope this work continues.”
However, Monday’s flag raising is one step in the process, said Tallow.
“Reconciliation is about all of us coming together and addressing those complex issues. We can have flags, T-shirts and ribbons, but the hard work is bringing about equality for all and bringing about a place where Indigenous people can feel at home in this community and in this territory and be recognized and represented as we are traditionally.”
Several online and in-person events are taking place around the city this month to recognize Reconciliation Week. 
Further information can be found at http://www.lethbridge.ca/indigenousrelations

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