Alexandre Silberman
Alexandre Silberman
Alexandre Silberman is a second year student at St. Thomas University, studying journalism, political science and communications. Alexandre is originally from Burlington, Vermont.
October 22, 2018

Wəlastəkewiyik and Mi’kmaq Grand Council Flags raised on STU campus

Miigam’agan, STU’s Elder-in-Residence, speaks at the ceremony. | Photo: Alexandre Silberman

St. Thomas University permanently raised two Indigenous flags on campus in a ceremony on Oct. 15.

The Wəlastəkewiyik (Maliseet) and Mi’kmaq Grand Council Flags now fly with the Canadian, New Brunswick and STU flags.

Graydon Nicholas, the Endowed Chair in Native Studies at St. Thomas University, speaks during a flag raising ceremony on Oct. 15. Behind him is Miigam’agan, STU’s Elder-in-Residence, St. Mary's First Nation Chief Allan (Chicky) Polchies, and Trenton Augustine, the university's aboriginal student services coordinator. | Photo: Alexandre Silberman

STU President Dawn Russell said the flag raising is part of the university’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions’ 94 calls to action.

“This gathering on traditional unceded Wəlastəkewiyik territory is based on mutual respect and shared aspirations for the future,” Russell said.

The Wəlastəkewiyik (centre left) and Mi’kmaq (centre right) Grand Council Flags now fly with the Canadian, New Brunswick and STU flags. | Photo: Alexandre Silberman

St. Thomas has a growing and significant number of Indigenous students, which now account for more than 8 per cent of the university’s population. St. Thomas University sits on unceded, traditional territory of the Wəlastəkewiyik. When when the school first opened as St. Thomas College in Chatham, it sat on the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq.

St. Mary’s First Nation Chief Allan (Chicky) Polchies Jr. told the crowd of several dozen that they were witnessing history.

The Sisters of the Drum performed at the flag raising ceremony at St. Thomas University on Oct. 15. | Photo: Alexandre Silberman

“All the guests that come [to campus], will see those flags and they’ll identify that they’re on this territory,” he said. “And that this university takes a stand and acknowledges the Indigenous people of this beautiful country we call home, Canada,” he said.

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