Raising the Mi’Kmaq Grand Council Flag
By Patrick LeBlanc, Unifor 2002 Member at Jazz Technical Services
Aboriginal Workers of Colour Committee Representative – YHZ Base
On October 1, 2020, I had the privilege (for the second year) to raise the Mi'Kmaq Grand Council Flag at the Jazz /JTS Facility in Goffs, Nova Scotia which is located on Mi’Kmaq Territory. October is Mi’Kmaq History Month in Nova Scotia celebrating the living Treaties between the Mi'Kmaq and the Crown.
The month begins with Treaty Day – October 1. Nova Scotia has a number of Treaties with the Mi’Kmaq that were signed between 1725-1779 and are still in place today. This annual ceremony reaffirms the historic presence of the Mi’kmaq who have occupied this unceded land for thousands of years.
In attendance for this flag-raising ceremony and celebration was Kirk Newhook – Jazz Vice President, as well as other Executives and Managers from Jazz along with Unifor members from local 2002, District 715.
The smudging ceremony commenced at 10:00 am and included a history of the Mi’Kmaq Nation and the meaning behind the smudging of the Grand Council Flag. Smudging is traditionally a ceremony for purify or cleansing the soul of negative thoughts of a person or place. There are four elements involved in a smudge:
The Container, traditionally an Abalone shell representing water, is the first element.
The four sacred plants Cedar, Sage, Sweetgrass, Tobacco, gifts from mother earth, represent the second element.
The Fire produced from lightning the sacred plants represents the third element.
The smoke produced from the fire represents air, the fourth element.
Smudging is also used to clear negative energy from objects.
The Grand Council flag was raised beneath the Jazz Flag and will fly until the October 31st.
The ceremony ended with the playing of the Mi'kmaq Honor Song.
The attendees were grateful to witness this ceremony and for some it was the first time seeing this event. I enjoyed sharing my Aboriginal Culture with Unifor and Jazz, acknowledging the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
For more information, please contact:
Ada Zampini, Liaison to the Executive Board
20-10-19 AWOC Update en.txt