Posted: May 26, 2021
Friday, May 21st was a historical day for North and South Esk Regional School, as they permanently raised the Mi'kmaq Grand Council Flag in front of the school entrance.
NSER is the fourth school in Anglophone North School District to permanently fly the flag.
The ceremonies were opened by two NSER students who acted as MC's for the day, followed by a prayer by a Metepenagiag First Nation Elder, and the playing of the Gathering Song by the NSER Drum Group.
Principal David Cripps welcomed everyone and acknowledged the partnership between nations that continues to this day, and stated that the flag raising was in acknowledgement and recognition of the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action.
The permanent flag raising "Represents an important and necessary step to bringing awareness of truth and reconciliation to our school," said Cripps. He also pointed out that it was being done out of the respect to Metepenagiag and the importance they play in NSER and community.
Superintendent Mark Donovan said that it was a very good day for NSER. The school district began the process to fly the Grand Council flag permanently at schools two years ago. ASD-N serves nine First Nation communities, from Listuguj in the north to Bouctouche in the south. One in seven students in the district are of First Nation heritage.
"We all live on and share the unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq people - we pushed forward and set a precedent for the province," said Donovan. The goal is to have the Grand Council flag flying at all 29 schools throughout the district.
Metepenagiag Chief Bill Ward offered words of thanks.
"Today is just another positive step in reconciliation for our people." He added that the flag should bring great pride to First Nation students and to all students and staff. He encouraged everyone to ask questions, about the Mi'kmaq people and culture, to continue the learning.
The ceremony can be viewed on the NSER youtube channel, NSER Cobras.