Sts’ailes band members raise the Sts’ailes flag in Harrison Hot Springs Friday. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

VIDEO: Sts’ailes, Harrison welcome first nation flag as permanent part of the village

The ceremony was a mark of positive relations, friendship between the first nation and the village

The Sts’ailes flag will now be flying proudly above Harrison Hot Springs’ civic plaza every day of the year.

On Friday (Sept. 6), Sts’ailes and Harrison Hot Springs honoured the first nation’s traditional territory in the village with a flag raising ceremony.

“The village of Harrison Hot Springs and Sts’ailes has strong relationship, built on mutual respect, trust and partnership,” Harrison mayor Leo Facio said during the ceremony. “It is in this spirit of respect that we wish to have the Sts’ailes flag displayed next to ours in a prominent place in our village.”

The flag, he added, would serve as a “constant recognition” of the traditional Sts’ailes lands as well as help educate visitors on the history of the area, which included the ancient village of Qwó:ils, which was where Harrison is now.

RELATED: Archaeology uncovers buried Sts’ailes history

Sts’ailes Chief Ralph Leon agreed, adding that he was grateful for the support of other governments to make having the flag in the community possible.

“Reconciliation means so much to Sts’ailes,” he said. “This flag that’s going to hang here, is going to ground each and every one of us to the land. Those that live here. All the ancestors that lived here for umpteen thousand years. And our children, who are here to witness the work.”

“We talk about a beautiful future for all of our people,” he continued. “We work for the same people. We work for the same children. And I know, after the ceremony, it’s going to become a real proud moment for all of us.”

Previously, the flag had only been raised during events like Sasquatch Days, which first started in Harrison in the 1930s. After the Friday ceremony, the flag will be up in the civic plaza every day alongside the Harrison, British Columbian and Canadian flags.

RELATED: Sasquatch Days about ‘being proud of being Sts’ailes’

The flag raising incorporated elements of traditional Sts’ailes ceremonies, including two young people to serve as markers for the event — though as emcee Chaquawet Willie Charlie noted, the partnership between Sts’ailes and Harrison meant the ceremony was much shorter than was common.

The ceremony also recognized a number of witnesses, who would help remember the flag raising as part of Sts’ailes oral history. Many of these witnesses were dignitaries from nearby communities, including Sq’ewelts Chief Johnny Williams, Kent mayor Sylvia Pranger, MP Jati Sidhu, MLA Laurie Throness and Fraser Valley Regional District chair Jason Lum.

Several spoke during the event, particularly on the burgeoning friendship between Sts’ailes and Harrison, and the importance of building inter-community connections.

However, Lum said, although reconciliation was taking place by flying the Sts’ailes flag, the truth part of that movement needed to be recognized.

“The Sts’ailes flag, while it is a very important symbol, just represents the truth,” he said. “The truth is that there has always been a beautiful, vibrant, enduring culture that has existed here.

“Sts’ailes knows that; has always known that,” he continued. “This symbol is more for non-Indigenous people who come here, and now will start to understand and learn about that truth.”

SEE ALSO: Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

As Leon said at the end of the ceremony, the flag raising was only one part of the migration towards truth and reconciliation in the Fraser Valley.

“The work is done now,” he said about the flag. “Now we can move on with the beautiful work.

“I look around and I see you all going like this,” he added, nodding his head. “I can’t wait to sit at the table and see you do the same.”



[email protected]

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A number of dignitaries attended Friday’s flag raising, including Sts’ailes Chief Ralph Leon (centre), Harrison mayor Leo Facio (far left, bottom row), Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness (second left, bottom), MP Jati Sidhu (second right, bottom) and Kent mayor Sylvia Pranger (third left, middle). (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Just Posted

Motorists were ‘driving like their own Indy 500’ before fatal Abbotsford crash, court hears

Family member declares defence request for 90-day jail sentence a ‘joke’

World champion SFU Pipe Band comes to Chilliwack

SFU Pipe Band will put on a celebration of culture, music and heritage at Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Surge in Fraser Health home-care complaints concerns seniors advocate

Number of people complaining about home care has risen substantially over the last four years

Snowfall warning in effect for the Coquihalla Highway

An unstable airmass is producing heavy flurries over parts of the southern highway passes

KAAC won’t back Kent’s Teacup properties plans

Public consultation meeting is on March 10 at District Hall

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: Protesters block tracks in Maple Ridge

West Coast Express train service has been suspended, buses arranged for commuters

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

Man pleads guilty to stabbing woman, off-duty cop outside North Delta elementary school

The suspect, whose name is under a publication ban, faced 10 charges in relation to this incident

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Most Read