The Mi'kmaq Nation flag will fly permanently at ST. FX campus starting in September.
Local aboriginal leaders are applauding a decision by St. Francis Xavier University to permanently fly the Mi’kmaq flag on campus.
The university banner and Canadian and Nova Scotia flags already fly outside Morrison Hall, and in October, the university raised the Mi’kmaq flag for Mi’kmaq history month.
Some students expressed disappointment when the Antigonish, N.S. university took it down at the end of the month.
“It was a respect side of things, recognizing that we are on unceded Mi’kmaq territory and they were looking for some sort of acknowledgment on campus, a show of respect for that community that we are on traditional Mi’kmaq territory,” says Andrew Beckett, the vice-president of finance and administration at St. FX University.
The university has adopted a flag policy, which lays out the protocol that will be followed for things like a new ceremonial location, and when to lower flags at half-mast.
The Mi’kmaq flag will be a permanent fixture, with a fifth flagpole added for ceremonial flags.
Paqtnkek First Nation is located roughly 15 kilometres east of Antigonish and is home to about 500 people. Paqtnkek First Nation Chief Paul Prosper says the decision is a tremendous milestone.
“It provides a recognition of the Mi’kmaq people as being the original inhabitants of this land, but also, it gives recognition to the fact that this is still traditional Mi’kmaq land and it’s a good way to recognize that fact,” says Prosper.
“Things like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report have certainly brought a greater recognition of the importance of some of those symbolic type recognitions of the First Nations place in our history,” says Beckett.
The new flag policy is set to begin in September.