Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples : Montréal unveils its new coat of arms and its new flag
13 septembre 2017
Montréal, September 13, 2017 – It is with great pride that the mayor of Montréal, Mr. Denis Coderre, accompanied by the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), Mr. Ghislain Picard, unveiled the city's new coat of arms and flag. The unveiling took place in the presence of numerous citizens, dignitaries and representatives of Indigenous peoples. This initiative is part of the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and allows the city to start its new chapter towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
“Today is a historical day for Montréal. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we are adding a key component to our Strategy of Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples: the redesigning of the coat of arms and the unveiling of the new Montréal flag. The symbol of white pine completes the city's coat of arms to evoke a message of concord and Living together, while reminding us of the millennial political and diplomatic history of our island and the people who inhabited it. By becoming a Metropolis of Reconciliation, we wish to send a strong message of peace, justice and respect for human rights, all of which are principles to which the city is firmly committed,” declared the mayor of Montréal, Mr. Denis Coderre.
“The City of Montreal demonstrates it commitment by acknowledging, in its coat of arms and flag, the historical and contemporary presence of our peoples. I want to thank the Committee members who agreed that the white pine at the heart of the circle represents our unity and cultures on this First Nation unceded territory”, declared Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador.
The White pine, an emblematic symbol
The new coat of arms and the flag of Montreal now include the five original peoples in the founding and historical development of the metropolis: Indigenous nations, French, English, Scottish and Irish. The white pine, placed at the centre of the coat of arms, symbolizes the Tree of Peace and represents the only indigenous plant in the city coat of arms. It was chosen by an advisory committee designated by the AFNQL, made up of members from various First Nations (Mohawks, Anishnabes, Innus), both from the urban community and reserves, as well as a representative from the Centre d'histoire de Montréal. The committee was accompanied throughout its meetings by the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
The redesigning of the city's coat of arms and flag is part of Montréal's Strategy of Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The objective of this strategy is to recognize the millennial history of the territory on which Montréal was built.