Grand Bay-Westfield hoists flag of Wolastoq Nation

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Grand Bay-Westfield hoists flag of Wolastoq Nation
WATCH: The town of Grand Bay-Westfield, N.B. raised the Wolastoq flag Monday in what it calls an “Action to Reconciliation.” While many communities are cancelling or scaling back Canada Day festivities, the small town hopes it can do more. – Jun 28, 2021

Grand Bay-Westfield raised the Wolastoq flag Monday, and officials say there’s no looking back.

Days after the town announced it was consulting with Indigenous leaders to alter local Canada Day celebrations, a smudging ceremony was held outside town hall as the flag was raised.

CAO John Enns-Wind says it’s there indefinitely.

“We are looking at adding additional flag poles to accommodate the flag on a permanent basis,” he says.

Recently-elected Mayor Brittany Merrifield says reconciliation is important for her to tackle in the role.

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“When the news came out over the last couple weeks, it hit everybody hard and we all felt like we wanted to do something meaningful and work towards reconciliation,” she says.

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Come July 1, Grand Bay-Westfield’s planning to host a community gathering focusing on reconciliation.

Wolastoq historian Gary Gould will share teachings with those in attendance.

His niece, Amanda LeBlanc, attended Monday’s flag-raising, where she performed a smudging ceremony.

She says seeing the Wolastoq flag outside town hall for the first time means a lot to her.

“This is the first time that I’ve felt seen and appreciated as an Indigenous woman here so I can just imagine what it means for my family members that come before me,” she says.

Click to play video: 'Calls to cancel Canada Day grow louder'
Calls to cancel Canada Day grow louder

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