The Treaty 6 and Metis Flags are now flying at Lakeland College’s Lloydminster and Vermilion campuses.
“What raising the flags means to Indigenous students is that they will feel comfortable and they’ll feel a belonging, where they will be more successful as they are attending to their studies,” says Clint Chocan, Lakeland College’s Indigenous Student Support Specialist.
“Having the Treaty 6 Flag as a symbol in front of Lakeland College is just more welcoming,” says Tinisha Young a Marketing Student, who raised the Treaty 6 flag. “Hopefully it just increases the overall demographic of Indigenous students and then get involved that way. We also raised the teepee yesterday, so we’re hoping that draws more students in.”
Lakeland College’s President and CEO Alice Wainwright-Stewart says the flag raising is a way to make the college more inclusive.
“I’ve been at this institution for many years and I’ve seen the development and growth of our indigenous population and students here and I wanted to make sure our Indigenous students felt very comfortable and at home at Lakeland.”
Chocan says that this is a first step to reconciliation.
“It means that awareness is starting to take place and once awareness takes place, there will be understanding. With understanding comes acceptance, and then with acceptance comes unity and that’s what we are striving for here at Lakeland.”
Chocan says there is still work to be done in teaching the history of Indigenous people.
“Making sure the treaties are taught in a way that is understood by all nations and making sure the curriculums have the right components.”
Wainwright-Stewart says they will continue to work with students to make sure steps that are taken are what the students want and not what administration feels is right.
Lakeland’s Lloydminster campus will also be the site of a four-part Reconciliation Speaker Series this year. Fred Sasakamoose, a residential school survivor and the first Indigenous person from Canada to play in the NHL, will share his story on September 20. The second event is the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Walk on October 4. On November 9 there will be a presentation by Harold Johnson, author of Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing my People and Yours. The last event is Holistic Approaches to Life and Living presented by Dwayne Donald and Elder Bob Cardinal on November 16.