Canada has had to come to terms with its history this year. After over 1,000 unmarked graves were discovered earlier this year near 6 former residential school sites in Manitoba, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan, there has been an immense call to action for answers, accountability and support from the Canadian government. This has resulted in a new national holiday and now a survivors flag to honour residential school survivors.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) unveiled the flag this week which was created during six weeks of consultation, discussion and collaboration with survivors from Inuit, Mi’kmaq, Atikamekw, Cree, Ojibway, Dakota, Mohawk, Dene, Nuu-chah-nulth, Secwepemc, and Métis backgrounds.

The flag features 9 key elements that were selected by survivors. These include The Family, The Children, The Seeds Below Ground, Tree of Peace, Cedar Branch, Cosmic Symbolism, The Métis Sash, The Eagle Feather and The Inukshuk. The chosen symbols represent and honour both the living and the dead and all those impacted by the residential school system in Canada.

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The flag was conceived earlier this year when the bodies were discovered and it was clear that there needed to be a way for the public to show support and respect. In the end the creation of a flag was agreed to be the most accessible symbol to honour the lives lost and show continued support and respect.

Now what’s also cool about this flag is that it will eventually be available to the public. That means you’ll be able to purchase flags to fly at home, at your work or wherever else you want. You’ll also be able to buy items that feature the Survivor’s Flag design. Until then you can always wear orange to show your support.

If you’d like to learn more you can click here.