2017-11-29

Lunenburg flag flap over Mi’kmaw association’s request

by Keith Corcoran

A representative of the Mi'kmaw Heritage and Restoration Association was on the verge of tears when she stormed out of a Lunenburg town council meeting where civic politicians hesitated on a request sanctioning the permanent installation of a Mi'Kmaw flag at the town's UNESCO monument site near Cumberland Street.

Pat Garrison, on behalf of the association, believes the flag should have a constant presence alongside other honour flags given the history of the indigenous people.

"The Mi'kmaw flag belongs in that family of flags," she told councillors, offering to spend her own money to make it happen in what appeared to be an emotional plea.

But town council interpreted Garrison's original request as one for a temporary flag display during Mi'kmaw History Month in October. Mayor Rachel Bailey commented that she understands the rationale for the flag but seeks guidance as to its rightful place.

Lunenburg discussed the issue for about 40 minutes and, in the end, decided to get flag protocol advice from the province and examine what the UNESCO organization's flag formation guidelines say about placing an additional flag at the monument.

The town is also reaching out to other municipalities in similar circumstances to see what they're doing. Lunenburg is looking into costs involved and other issues before presenting the information to a general governance committee. Town staff is drafting a letter of clarification to Garrison.

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