Yukon College raises First Nations flags on campus
'When our people come to the college, and see themselves reflected in this building — it means a great deal'
An array of flags at Yukon College's Whitehorse campus has a couple of new additions, representing the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council.
"When our people come to the college, and see themselves reflected in this building — it means a great deal," said Kwanlin Dün chief Doris Bill, at a snowy flag-raising ceremony on Friday afternoon.
"There's some change happening, and it's really positive change and it just warms my heart to see it."
Ta'an Kwäch'än deputy chief Michelle Telep also spoke, and said adding the flags to campus represents a spirit of reconciliation.
"The flags are a symbol to our citizens who are students or staff, even alumni from the college, that they are on their homelands and are being recognized for contributing importantly to their community," she said.
"Flags are a tool for empowerment."
And two more make five
The two flags — with the First Nations' circular emblems centred on white backgrounds — now join three others that were already on campus, representing Canada, Yukon, and the City of Whitehorse.
"One of the things we always do is acknowledge that we're on the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün and the Ta'an Kwäch'än," said college president Karen Barnes.
She says the college has worked hard to build a strong partnerships with the First Nations, and the flags are meant to demonstrate that.
"This is sort of the front entrance of the college, the first thing people will see — and so we'd like to make it quite visible."
Barnes said she'd like to eventually add flags representing all of Yukon's First Nations to campus.