Saskatchewan

City of Regina apologizes after hanging flags honouring Indigenous survivors upside down

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is on Friday, and Regina has chosen to honour the day by raising 'survivors' flags' on Albert Street Bridge. However, a handful of the flags were hung upside down on Tuesday morning.

Many Truth and Reconciliation flags on Albert St. Bridge were hung upside down Tuesday morning

On Tuesday morning, many of the survivors' flags on Albert Street Bridge were upside down. (CBC News)

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is on Friday, and Regina has chosen to honour the day by raising 'survivors' flags' on Albert Street Bridge.

However, a handful of the flags were hung upside down on Tuesday morning.

According to the Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the survivors' flag is an expression of remembrance, "meant to honour residential school survivors and all the lives and communities impacted by the residential school system in Canada."

Each element shown on the flag was carefully selected by residential school survivors from across Canada, who were consulted in the flag's creation.

Those on social media may have first heard the news from Saskatchewan-based musician Blake Berglund, who posted a video of some of the upside down flags on Twitter Tuesday morning. He said eight of the 21 flags were in that state. Berglund called the display "sickening" and "racist."

Berglund dialed back his statements in a later tweet.

"After posting and chatting with a friend I thought it was important to say that there's obviously a difference between overt racism and incompetence. This falls toward the latter. Nonetheless, upside-down?! C'mon…," the artist tweeted. 

The city fixed the upside down survivors' flags on Tuesday. (CBC News)

In a statement to CBC News, the City of Regina said the upside-down flags were unintentional errors, and that the mistakes had since been corrected. 

"The City of Regina understands it is deeply disrespectful to fly inverted flags and sincerely apologizes to all those who have been offended," read the statement.

"We'll take greater care to raise all flags correctly in the future."

The city is encouraging residents to take time to learn about the significance of the survivors' flags.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura is a journalist for CBC Saskatchewan. She is also the community reporter for CBC's virtual road trip series Land of Living Stories. Laura previously worked for CBC Vancouver. Some of her former work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, NYLON Magazine, VICE Canada and The Tyee. She holds a master of journalism degree from the University of British Columbia. Follow Laura on Twitter: @MeLaura. Send her news tips at laura.sciarpelletti@cbc.ca

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