Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre replaced the Indigenous and Pride flags at the Centre in a Facebook Live ceremony on Friday.
The flags were smudged and hung from the windows inside the Centre to keep them protected until a more permanent solution is established.
Kandice Baptiste, director of Four Directions, said the University intends to permanently hang the flags from poles above the Centre prior to September.
“We always appreciate the support of the community, but at times like this it’s particularly important,” Baptiste said. “Today, we are going to rehang the flags. We all think it’s critical that the flags be rehung as soon as possible, which is what I said on the day it happened.”
The flags outside the Centre, including the Haudenosaunee Two Row Wampum, an LGBTQ+ Pride flag with a white equal sign, a Trans+ Pride flag, a Haudenosaunee Confederacy flag, and a Métis Nation flag were vandalized sometime between June 29 and June 30. They were removed from the building June 30.
Baptiste said the action ensures “folks know [Four Directions] is supportive of all the communities, particularly the ones represented by the flags.”
Kingston Police told The Journal on July 17 that the investigating officer responsible for the vandalism case is on annual leave until next week. Upon his return, Kingston Police will inquire with him for an update about the ongoing investigation.
“We hope to continue to honour [these communities’] resilience and their strength in terms of facing these types of incidents,” Baptiste said. “We want to make sure our Centre is a safe space.”
In a post shared to Facebook on July 16, Four Directions also thanked individuals in the community who had offered to donate money toward the purchase of new flags or to provide new flags.
They directed those interested in donating towards the Emergency Bursary Fund for Indigenous Students and the Chancellor Jim Leech Bursary for Indigenous Students to assist Indigenous students in accessing supports and services at Four Directions.
For Indigenous Students who need support, Four Directions directed them to Lisa Doxtator, cultural counsellor at Four Directions or to the Office of Indigenous Initiatives.
“I hope this is helpful to folks to provide some sort of closure or completion to what had happened to the flags when they were outside,” Baptiste said. “[I]t meant a lot to hear from people and it meant a lot to us to put the flags back up.”
Students and community members impacted by this incident and seeking support can connect with the following resources:
- First Nations and Inuit Hope for wellness crisis line
- Empower Me
- Social Issues Commission of the AMS: firstname.lastname@example.org
- One-on-one counselling available for Black and Racialized students with psychologist E.L. Adams and/or counsellor Dr Arunima Khanna. To set up an appointment, email email@example.com
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