Canada Montreal unveils new flag recognizing Indigenous peoples

17:21  13 september  2017
17:21  13 september  2017 Source:   cbc.ca

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Montreal unveils new flag recognizing Indigenous peoples © City of Montreal Montreal unveils new flag recognizing Indigenous peoples

Montreal has added a white pine tree to the centre of its coat of arms and city flag in recognition the contribution of Indigenous people to the city.

The white pine, described as the "tree of peace," is a symbol of the unity of the nations of the Haudenosaunee confederacy.

Mayor Denis Coderre says the change is part of an effort to move toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

"Today is a historical day for Montreal," he said in a statement. 

The mayor's office also confirmed Wednesday that the city will change the name of Amherst Street, named after the former British general Jeffery Amherst.

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Scholars have long debated Amherst's actions during his service, including allegations he advocated the use of biological warfare, through smallpox blankets, to kill Indigenous peoples.

The city has not decided on a new name for the street.

  • 'Extirpate this execrable race': The dark history of Jeffery Amherst


Praise from Quebec chief

Ghislain Picard, the chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Quebec and Labrador, praised the decision to add an Indigenous symbol to its flag.

"The City of Montreal demonstrates its commitment by acknowledging, in its coat of arms and flag, the historical and contemporary presence of our peoples," Picard said.

The previous flag had four symbols representing four of the city's founding communities:

  • A Fleur-de-lys, representing the French.
  • A red Rose of Lancaster, representing the English.
  • A thistle, representing the Scots.
  • A shamrock, representing the Irish. 

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