Snuneymuxw flag to fly at city hall for first time

The City of Nanaimo will raise the Snuneymuxw flag at city hall during National Aboriginal Day celebrations Sunday (June 21).

Snuneymuxw First Nation will see its flag fly at city hall for the first time Sunday (June 21).

Mayor Bill McKay and Snuneymuxw Chief John Wesley will see the flags of their governments billow side-by-side on National Aboriginal Day in what McKay calls a first in Nanaimo’s history.

“This is not a symbol,” he said, “This is intended to be proof we are not only talking the talk, but walking the walk. We need to work together with the Snuneymuxw.”

Flags of First Nations have been raised across Canada, beginning in Regina, Sask., in 2011. It’s a token of a larger message, McKay said.

It recognizes two councils govern the community together. It’s about building strong relationships and cooperation and friendship in wanting to get engaged on projects and initiatives with the Snuneymuxw. And it’s recognition of government. The Canadian and B.C. flags fly at city hall.

“Now we are not only going to fly ours, but Snuneymuxw to recognize the four levels of government that govern the laws and our community,” he said.

Coun. Bill Yoachim, a former Snuneymuxw councillor, is proud of the recognition and honoring of Snuneymuxw peoples and their history on Aboriginal Day, and calls it appropriate timing with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.

“The flag-raising and the Snuneymuxw flag being at the city just shows we are standing shoulder to shoulder and it’s recognizing each other which is a great, great starting ground in the era or reconciliation,” he said.

The flag-raising happens at 11 a.m. at city hall.