The Ktunaxa Nation flag was raised at the Cranbrook arches — the entrance to the downtown core — during a poignant ceremony marking National Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday, June 21.
The ceremony included Ktunaxa songs, as well as remarks from dignitaries and elected officials from the Ktunaxa Nation, ʔaq’am? community and the City of Cranbrook, before a flag was raised to half-mast alongside four others representing Canada, British Columbia, City of Cranbrook and the United States.
“The Ktunaxa Nation and the City of Cranbrook share a long and intertwined history,” said Kathryn Teneese, Ktunaxa Nation Council Chair. “Recently, the tragic news out of Kamloops has underscored why reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in this country must be a priority for everyone. Today’s raising of the Ktunaxa Nation flag alongside the City of Cranbrook’s flag is one step on our journey as we walk the path to reconciliation.”
The Ktunaxa Nation flag is a modern representation of the 7 feather staff, which is still used today for ceremonial purposes.
The Ktuanxa Nation Council represents the Ktunaxa Nation government in Canada, comprised of elected officials from ʔaq’am? (St. Mary’s), ʔakisq̓nuk, Yaqan Nuʔkiy (Lower Kootenay) and yaq̓it ʔa·knuq̓ⱡiʔit (Tobacco Plains) communities.
“This is an important step forward in our effort to strengthen and grow the relationship between the Ktunaxa Nation and the City of Cranbrook,” said Mayor Lee Pratt. “The path to reconciliation is not one we take alone, but one we take together. It is our desire and commitment to work together with the Ktunaxa Nation for the betterment of our region, our community and our people.”
The Ktunaxa Nation provides many important services to the community and region including Street Angels and the health clinic, which is open and available to anyone, not just Indigenous people.
To learn more about the Ktunaxa Nation, visit their website.
National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. National Aboriginal Day (now National Indigenous Peoples Day) was announced in 1996 by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, through the Proclamation Declaring June 21 of each year as National Aboriginal Day.
On June 21, 2017, the day was officially renamed National Indigenous Peoples Day.