Peacock raises Treaty 4 flag

Isabelle Hanson Kenowekesequape, Peacock student Kayleigh Olson, Elder Gerry Stonechild, Peacock principal Dustin Swanson and Regina musician Brad Bellegarde hold the Treaty 4 flag in the Peacock Collegiate auditorium. Lisa Goudy/Times-Herald

Ceremony marks next step in response to Truth and Reconciliation calls to action

A Treaty 4 flag was raised at Peacock Collegiate on Thursday for the first time in the school’s history.

“It’s a simple but very important step that we take to recognize the relationship that was established between First Nations and non-Aboriginal people some 143 years ago when Treaty 4 was signed in Fort Qu’Appelle,” said Peacock principal Dustin Swanson.

“By hanging the Treaty 4 flag in our school, we are acknowledging the importance of the treaty, not just for First Nations people but for all of us and the message of community and sharing that was intended by the treaty. By doing this we’re also making a symbolic gesture of who we all are as treaty people.”

Peacock Collegiate principal Dustin Swanson, Elder Gerry Stonechild, Peacock student Kayleigh Olson and Isabelle Hanson Kenowekesequape hold the Treaty 4 flag raised at the school on May 25, 2017. Lisa Goudy/Times-Herald

He said Thursday’s ceremonial flag raising was one step of many for the school to take action regarding the Truth and Reconciliation’s report and 94 calls to action, released in December 2015.

“We’re looking for something that is symbolic and also can be a bit of a public reminder for us about the reconciliation process,” said Swanson. “That’s at the heart of it.”

For Isabelle Hanson Kenowekesequape, local First Nations woman and founder of the Wakamow Aboriginal Community Association (WACA), Thursday’s flag raising was a step in the right direction.

“I think that’s so awesome. It’s really a historic day for us and I’m really proud to be part of it,” she said. “Our youth are the future and so it’s really good that the Peacock administration is recognizing it and that they’re inviting the school population to embrace the Treaty 4 territory and the flag. It brings us together as a community.”

For more on this, see the May 26, 2017 print or online edition of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald.