Flags vandalized at Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre

Principal Patrick Deane pledges University investigation

The flags had been removed as of Tuesday evening.
Photo: 
The flags had been removed from Four Directions as of Tuesday evening.
Credit: 
Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre
The flags had been removed as of Tuesday evening.
Photo: 

This story was updated with new information on July 1 at 2:30 p.m.

Flags outside the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre were vandalized on Tuesday, the last day of Indigenous History Month.

While the University acknowledged the incident in a statement, it didn’t specify the nature of the vandalism. 

The Haudenosaunee Two Row Wampum, representing a living treaty established for people to live together in peace, respect the ways of others, and discuss solutions to issues that arise, was one of the flags hanging outside of the Centre. The other vandalized flags included an LGBTQ+ Pride flag with a white equal sign, a Trans+ Pride flag, and a Métis Nation flag. 

These flags had been removed from Four Directions as of Tuesday evening.

 “Disgusting in itself, this new expression of racism and bigotry is all the more reprehensible for occurring in the context of that broader repudiation of racism and hatred that has gripped our society since the death of George Floyd in the United States,” Principal Patrick Deane wrote.

The Journal has reached out to the University, the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre, and Kingston Police for a comment. 

The University did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication but confirmed Kingston Police had been contacted to investigate the incident.

Four Directions released a Facebook statement on Tuesday evening.

"I am angry to have to write another statement condemning another act of hate targeted at Indigenous, queer, trans*, and Two Spirit folks," a Four Directions representative wrote. "This act is a further example of the continued violence that our communities face and it’s unacceptable. We deserve better."

In the statement, Four Directions said it will permanently rehang the flags as soon as possible.

"If they are vandalized again, we will rehang them again. Acts of cowardice, like this, will not deter us from be visibly proud and supportive of all Indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ folks and communities. I will remind those most impacted by this triggering act that settler colonialism will not erase us. 4D has your back.”

Kanonhysonne (Janice Hill), Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation), also released a statement Tuesday evening.

"I was deeply disturbed to learn of the act of vandalism at Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre," she wrote. "It disappoints and saddens me to hear of yet more acts of hatred and violence directed towards Indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ members of our community."

According to Kanonhysonne, the flags were "cut up and destroyed."

"It’s disheartening to continue to see these acts of hate, homophobia and racism take place at Queen’s University. We are once again reminded that homophobia and racism are alive and well in our community. I strongly condemn this act of hate and I want to re-iterate my commitment to educating others and creating change at Queen’s and within the Queen’s community."

Kanonhysonne said she will continue to work with senior administration to identify those responsible for the vandalism.

"I also want to let students, staff and faculty know that I am here to support and work with each of you. Together we can and will overcome this." 

The flags were hung by the University last year following the racist and homophobic incident in the Chown Hall residence, according to Four Directions and Deane.

In October 2019, a note was attached to the door of a common room on the fourth floor of Chown Hall. The note, written in verse, featured derogatory language aimed at LGBTQ+ and Indigenous students and referenced an Oct. 9 incident in which posters and flags, including a Métis flag and a Pride flag, were stolen from the fourth floor common room, a designated Indigenous & Allies community area.

The Kingston Police Department later closed its investigation into the incident on Jan. 17, with no charges or arrests made on the case. 

READ MORE“We’re going to let this strengthen us”: students of Chown Hall floor speak to racist note

Deane added the University will do “everything within its power” to identify the individuals responsible for the vandalism and will “redouble” its effort to effect systemic change in the Queen’s community. He did not specify what efforts the University intends to take.

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Students and community members impacted by this incident and seeking support can connect with the following resources:

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