Indigenous flag raised outside Alder Recreation Centre

December 14, 2018   ·   0 Comments

The community came together last Friday, Dec. 7, to partake in the raising of the Indigenous Flag by the Dufferin County Cultural Resource Circle (DCCRC) outside the Alder Recreation Centre.

Local dignitaries, including members of Orangeville Police Service and Town Council were on hand to celebrate the flag raising. A traditional land acknowledgment of the Anishinaabe people and a traditional Indigenous drumming performance by Eagleheart Singers was held prior to the ceremony. The flag was doused with sage to bless and give it positive energy. 

“This special day has been a long time coming,” said Community Elder Karen Vandenberg. “This flag teaches us many important lessons.”

The colours of the flag represent the four directions: Yellow to the east, Red to the south, Black to the west, and White to the north. The turtle on the flag is a snapping turtle, which appears in the Anishinaabe legend that explains the origin of North America, also known as Turtle Island. The legend is that after a great flood, the snapping turtle offered its back as the foundation for a new Earth. 

“This day has been four years in the making, and I couldn’t be happier,” said DCCRC chair and co-founder Debbie Sipkema. “I can’t thank everybody enough.”

“It’s all of us, all of this community,” added her husband Gil. 

Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown thanked everyone for participating. “This is a time to renew our commitment to live together on this land, based on the principles of trust, mutual respect and shared benefits.”

He noted his time spent on helping build the Medicine Wheel Garden, recently completed at the site of the future Bravery Park. “Over the summer I’ve come to know and befriend both Gil and Debbie. I’m continuing to learn more about Indigenous culture.”

Councillor Joe Andrews spoke on behalf of Elder Shelley Charles, and said the flag, with the medicine wheel, provides a cultural identity and is a permanent symbol for the DCCRC, those in Orangeville and beyond. “The journey to this day has been filled with much dialogue, hard work, and perseverance.”

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