Students and volunteers gathered together to begin the design of an aboriginal banner at David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) on June 2. This project will continue until June 14, when the completed banner must be sent to Ottawa, where it will be hung on Parliament Hill on June 20.
The banner’s creation is in celebration of Canada signing onto the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This declaration was adopted by the United Nations on September 13, 2007. However, Canada had been one of the four countries to vote against this declaration at the time. The banners being sent to Parliament Hill from a variety of schools and communities across Canada are to celebrate the nation’s signing-on to the declaration late last year, as well as reminding Canada to follow-through with their new promises.
The banner was designed by Sasha Eugene, who is in Grade 11 at DTSS.
“I like it,” said Eugene of the banner project. “Maybe finally we’ll get the things that are promised. This shows too that the youth are involved and care.”
Eugene had been approached by Debra Fisher, an aboriginal education support worker at DTSS, to design the banner. Eugene has also enlisted the help of other students, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, who have been enthusiastic to help with the project.
“It’s a worthy cause, and the kids understand it,” said Fisher.
The banner will feature a series of medicine wheel designs and the names of the Shuswap, Metis and Ktnuaxa nations. The top will read “O-Kanata”, and “Our Home on native land” at the bottom.
Nadine Hale, a representative of KAIROS from Christ Church Trinity, approached Fisher about presenting the project to the students.
KAIROS is an inter-church social justice group that advocates for issues around the world and helps fund programs in developing countries.
“It’s about celebrating that Canada signed on, and ensuring that this goes beyond paper,” said Hale. “We’re really excited to be working with the aboriginal program and seeing this through.”