In response to the growing number of unmarked graves being discovered all over Canada, the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation has removed the Canadian and New Brunswick flags from in front of its band office.
Recently, a large number of human remains have been discovered in several residential schools, revealing the horrible crimes that these schools have done against the native population.
Madawaska Maliseet First Nation Chief Patricia Bernard said that her people are in mourning ever since the first remains were discovered at Kamloops Indian Residential School in B.C.
Chief Bernard added:
“We’re sort of grappling with all the emotions and the relationship that we have on a nation-to-nation basis.”
Members of her community have removed the Canadian and New Brunswick flag on Monday, replacing them with the community’s flag. This happened a day after the Cowessess First Nation reported 751 unmarked graves at a cemetery near the former Marieval Indian Residential School.
Madawaska Maliseet First Nation Patricia Bernard added:
“Currently we don’t really have any kind of relationship with the federal government except their constitutional responsibility to us, and no relationship with the provincial government. You know, it’s been strained to the point of not being able to sort of just pick up the phone and call the minister responsible for Aboriginal affairs … There’s no trust there. A flag is flown for one purpose, she said, and that is to demonstrate your pride. And at this point, there isn’t really any pride in the relationship with the province and absolutely not with the federal government.”
She stated that these two flags may be raised again in the future, but that the government will first need to repair the relationship with Indigenous communities.