Three new flags are now flying high above Winnipeg City Hall after a ceremony Wednesday that featured many prominent leaders from the local area. The flags represent Treaty One First Nations, Dakota Nations and the Metis Nation.
Acting Hereditary Chief of Dakota Plains First Nation Don Smoke was a part of the ceremony and said it was a powerful event and that it went better than expected. Smoke was on hand to deliver a message for his father Orville and said "The Dakota were finally able to raise our flag on unceded territory. It happened in conjunction with our Treaty 1 and Métis brothers and sisters in a united manner. A huge step for reconciliation. It’s just the beginning for the Dakota Nation. There's a lot of work to do yet." Smoke added Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs Organization had a big hand in making the event a reality and had a huge thank you to Kyle Pashe of Dakota Tipi for creating the Dakota Flag. He also gave credit to Chief Eric Pashe who was very instrumental in bringing the 5 Manitoba Dakota nations together in unity.
"His persistence paid off."
Metis and Treaty One leaders were also on-hand for the ceremonial flag raising. Chief Dennis Meeches from Long Plain First Nation had a similar message to Smoke.
"More work needs to be done and it's important everyone comes together. It’s been a long fight and a long journey for the Treaty One Nations, Dakota Nations and Metis people but we celebrate the life our creator has given us, the blessings , even though we have struggled more than most people in this country,” said Meeches.