Snuneymuxw flag to fly at Nanaimo city hall for first time since 2017

The Snuneymuxw First Nation flag will be flying at Nanaimo city hall again Thursday morning after an absence of more than two years.

A special flag placement ceremony by the First Nation will recognize the “important relationship between the city of Nanaimo and Snuneymuxw First Nations,” stated a Wednesday notice sent out by the municipality.

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The flag had been reclaimed by Snuneymuxw members in September 2017, who said they were protesting violence experienced by Nanaimo’s then city manager Tracy Samra, who was on leave at the time. Samra is no longer with the city and a subsequent municipal election resulted in mainly new faces at the council table.

The flag was originally installed in June 2015 in a move to strengthen ties between the First Nation and the city.

Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse could not immediately be reached on Wednesday.

Last year, the Snuneymuxw First Nation and the city renewed a protocol agreement intended to “serve as a critical pathway for Nanaimo and Snuneymuxw to continue to work together on present, future and new economic and community priorities,” the First Nation’s 2019 annual report stated.

It contains “strong language about recognition of rights, reconciliation and guiding principles, ensuring the highest probability of success. The parties agree to work in a spirit of co-operation, good faith, and trust.”

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said, “We have been working hard to ensure that agreement works and restoring our relationship. This is a very powerful symbol of the restoration and enhancement of that relationship.”

Monthly meetings are held between Snuneymuxw First Nation and city officials, he said.

“The logical way to say to the community it (the protocal agreement) is working and we are working together and that reconciliation is important to both of us, is to get the flag back up.”

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