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THE MÉTIS NATION FLAG

Flags do not make nations, but nations do make (adopt) flags.

In the case of the Métis Nation, the first recorded use of the blue infinity flag is found in the Journal of Peter Fidler at Brandon House in early June 1816 where he records that “… at ½ past noon about 48 Half Breeds, Canadians, Freeman & Indians came all riding on Horseback, with their Flag flying blue about 4 feet square & a figure 8 horizontally in the Middle….”.

The flag is next recorded as flying at the Battle of Frog Plain (aka Seven Oaks) on June 19, 1816. This is likely on the same trip which brought Cuthbert Grant and his followers to Brandon House on the way to the Red River.

That the flag belongs to the Métis Nation is captured in a letter written by William McGillivray of the North West Company on March 14, 1818 in the following national inquiry into the Battle of Frog Plain wherein he wrote:

… they one and all look upon themselves as members of an independent tribe of natives, entitled to a property in the soil, to a flag of their own and to protection from the British Government.

It is absurd to consider them legally in any other light than as Indians; …

Being therefore Indians they as is frequently the case among the tribes in this vast continent as young men (the technical term for warriors) have a right to form a new tribe on any unoccupied or (according to the Indian law) any conquered territory. That the Half Breeds under the denomination of Bois Brulés, and Métifs have formed a separate and distinct tribe of Indians for a considerable time back has been proved to you by various depositions.

While here is no written origin of the flag at the time of its adoption, nor what it symbolizes, other than being the flag of the Métis Nation, the flag nevertheless belongs to the people/citizens of the Métis Nation collectively. It does not belong to individual citizens of the Métis Nation, no more than the Canadian flag belongs to individual Canadians, but to the country as a whole. All flags of every country or nation, while owned collectively by their citizens, are not owned by individual citizens, but certainly are there for their proper use.

The government of the Métis Nation has the responsibility and obligation to ensure the integrity of its flag on behalf of its citizens. Based on this responsibility, the General Assembly of the Métis Nation on March 24, 2013 adopted a resolution directing that the Métis Nation’s flag be protected by seeking a trademark or patent.

This was deemed necessary as there were now numerous individuals and organizations outside of the Métis Nation, not only identifying as Métis but were appropriating the symbols of the Métis Nation, including its flag, as well as using the term “Métis Nation” to describe their organizations.

On the basis of the 2013 General Assembly resolution, the Métis National Council, which is the national representative governmental institution of the Métis Nation pursued a trademark for the flag, which resulted in securing an “official mark” for the flag. Official marks are provided to governments for their symbols, such as flags and emblems.

In the wake of the proliferation of persons of mixed ancestry purporting to be Métis and appropriating Métis Nation cultural symbols, including the Métis Nation’s flag, it is incumbent on all citizens of the Métis Nation to ensure the collective ownership of their flag is vigilantly promoted and protected, and the flag itself widely flown.

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