Oakville Survivor’s Flag Raising, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The joint leadership team gathered to raise the Survivors’ Flag ahead of September 30, in honour of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The ceremony included words from the Oakville Assembly’s Indigenous Peoples Network Chairperson, Zoran Trbovic, sharing the meaning of the flag, its inception, and a quote from Elder Philip Paynter, a Cree survivor who attended Sandy Bay Residential School.

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 depicted on the flag was carefully selected by survivors from across Canada, who were consulted in the flag’s creation.  

Mark Sciberras, President of Unifor Local 707, took a moment to speak to the group in attendance, citing the importance of learning and unlearning, the impact the Unifor members and our joint team have made in the community, and how we can continue to help the greater community.

Unfolding and displaying for the group to see, Zoran and Mark linked the flag to the pole. Raising high above the facility, this symbol of expression and remembrance will fly for the last week of September.

This was the first annual flag raising at Oakville Assembly for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

“One cannot heal in the same environment where trauma occurred, so healing for residential school Survivors requires removal of the colonial and systemic oppression that was designed to steal our language, ceremonies and ways of knowing. It is through the teachings our Elders fought to preserve where I found healing. This flag shows us a path forward where our culture and values are no longer hidden.”

-       Elder Philip Paynter, Cree Survivor who attended Sandy Bay Residential School