By Susan Shaw and Leah Place
On September 28, 2020—a picturesque, crisp autumn day— Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village in Harrison Mills, British Columbia, witnessed an historic ceremonial raising of the flags.
The First Nation’s community of Sts’ailes raised their community flag alongside the Canadian flag to signify the ongoing relationship between Correctional Service Canada (CSC) and Sts’ailes. The flag raising ceremony reflects our ongoing partnership, which began 20 years ago. CSC and Sts’ailes continue to work together to operate Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village with the goal of improved public safety for Indigenous people.
This was the first time the Sts’ailes’ flag was raised at Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village. Kwìkwèxwelhp is honoured to proudly display the Sts’ailes’ flag as an everyday reminder of our connectedness to the community and the deeper meaning of our name (Kwìkwèxwelhp), which translates into “a place to gather medicines.”
Witnesses saw a procession led by our local drummers to the site of the flag raising. CSC Guard of Honour members, Terri Jordan-Knox and Michael Cadorin, performed the flag raising. CSC Community Pipes and Drums Band members Doug Brew, Doug Holloway and Steve Gallagher performed while the flags were raised. Speakers on this historic day, included Sts’ailes Chief Ralph Leon Jr., Sts’ailes Council Member Boyd Peters, Warden of Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village Robert Harrison, and CSC Indigenous Initiatives Representative Randall Charlie.
Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village continues to honour and remember the initial working groups and senate that made this flag pole site possible. The ongoing commitment of both Sts’ailes and CSC staff to advance the initial vision under the guidance of our Elders is a true reflection of CSC’s mission and teachings of the land.
Susan Shaw is Programs Manager and Leah Place is A/Assistant Warden Management Services at Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village.