Vancouver host nations’ flags to be raised at Stanley Park’s Brockton Point

In an effort to work towards reconciliation and increase visibility of local First Nations, flags representing the three host nations of Vancouver will soon permanently fly in Stanley Park.

Vancouver Park Board commissioners voted unanimously Monday in favour of raising the flags of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh on the recently replaced flagpoles at Brockton Point.

“The raising of MST (Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh) flags would mark the first intervention in the Park that will generate discussion and awareness of MST’s occupation of these lands since time immemorial,” the report to the Park Board reads.

A date for a public flag raising ceremony has not yet been decided.

The flags were originally supposed to be raised in January 2020 but the plan was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A map of flags located in Stanley Park

A map of flags located in Stanley Park. (Courtesy City of Vancouver)

The move is part of the Park Board’s 2016 response to the Calls to Action within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It includes 11 reconciliation strategies, including a review of monuments, memorials, and public art processes, while also attempting to increase public knowledge and Indigenous visibility.

“Through the truth-telling phase of the ongoing Stanley Park Comprehensive Plan, much has been uncovered regarding the erasure of MST history and presence in Stanley Park,” the report to the Park Board reads. “The [Stanley Park Intergovernmental Committee and Working Group] frequently discusses opportunities to reverse these colonial actions through acknowledgement and increased visibility of MST in the park.”

In 2017, a meeting was held to replace the aging flagpoles overlooking Vancouver Harbour at Brockton Point, which were installed in the mid-1960s. The new poles were installed in 2019.

Rather than raising the original three flags of Canada, British Columbia, and the Union Jack, it was suggested “simply raising these flags again, which are already present in many other locations in Stanley Park and the City of Vancouver, further diminishes and overshadows the communication of MST’s history and connection to Stanley Park to all of its visitors.”

Representatives from the three host nations presented their flags to the Park Board in a ceremony on Jan. 31, 2020.

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