'I'm just so filled with pride': Calgary police mark Métis Week by raising nation's flag
Métis Week is recognized annually across Canada between November 12 and 18.
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Elder Faye Fabel-Beazley felt an immense sense of pride as she watched members of the Calgary Police Service (CPS) Honour Guard raise the Métis Nation’s flag outside the force’s headquarters on Monday.
The blue and white flag marked with an infinity symbol – representing the joining of two cultures and the everlasting existence of a people – will fly all week in honour of Métis Week, which is recognized annually across Canada between November 12 and 18.
“I felt a little bit like crying,” Fabel-Beazley said after the ceremony. “I’m just so filled with pride. This is so important for us as a nation … (it) helps to show the world our pride and how we feel about our nation, and being Métis.”
CPS’ Aboriginal Liaison Officer Alan Chamberlain, who is Métis himself, said the force wanted to show support for Calgary’s Métis people – especially in light of recommendations made by the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2015.
“(Raising the flag) shows our support for the Métis nation and all Indigenous communities,” Chamberlain told Metro. “These are good starts, but there’s a lot more that needs to be done – and we’ll definitely continue that work,” he added.
The Métis population is one of the fastest growing in Canada and a significant portion (as in, more than any other province or territory) lives in Alberta – an estimated 31,780 and 17,040 members live in Edmonton and Calgary, respectively.
The flag’s design has represented the unique nation for more than 300 years. The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) was officially formed in 1928 and Calgary falls within the boundaries of Region 3.
After the flag was raised – to half mast for now, in honour of Const. John Davidson, an Abbotsford, B.C. police officer who was shot and killed last week by a man from Alberta – CPS Deputy Chief Sat Parhar thanked the members of the Métis community who attended for allowing CPS to fly it outside their headquarters and echoed Chamberlain’s view.
“We’ve come a long way … but there’s lots of room for improvement,” Parhar told the group.
“I do hope, and am very inspired, that we’re going to lead the discussion on where we’re going to go next – but that starts with listening … What are we going to do today so that in 50 years, it’s a positive story about the Métis nation and where they come from, and the Indigenous community?”
Fabel-Beazley said she appreciates CPS’ willingness to work with the MNA to establish a meaningful relationship and hopes future generations will benefit.
“It’s wonderful for all of us,” she said. “Métis week is a wonderful time to bring us together as a community and a nation and I think it’s so important that we give this legacy to our children and our grandchildren … and maybe with any luck, we’ll have a few more (Métis) in CPS,” she added with a big smile.
For a complete list of Métis Week events in Calgary, click here.