The Images of a Country
Saskatchewan Council for Archives & Archivists
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Designs - First Nations

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Original: pencil crayon, ballpoint pen, collage; enlargement; Ontario, 10 August 1964

I am no artist but I hope this little sample will convey the idea. It is more Canadian than the red ensign and more patriotic than the three maple leaf design. The Union Jack in the corner ties us with the other sister nations of the Commonwealth. The maple leaves are one for each province and the teepee remembers the first citizens of our country. Two more maple leaves could be added at the top to represent the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Original: oil paint on paper; Ontario, 13 June 1964

I humbly point out that the maple is not a truly Canadian tree or emblem, because it is native to Asia and to Europe....The beaver also is not confined to Canada.... Thirdly, even the people of the United States retained the red, white and blue of the British flag when they became a union of sovereign states. Therefore, since the order of the day is "change for change sake," let us have a truly Canadian flag. Hence, I submit that both of the earlier races should be represented on such, the Esquimo, by the igloos, and the Indian by the Teepee. The gold background indicates the gold in the hears of the two native types as well as in the hearts of some of the later immigrants. That gold field also indicates THE GREATEST AND ALMOST EXCLUSIVE INTEREST OF MOST OF OUR fellow Canadians, the accumulation of gelt [money], to the exclusion of real and deep interest in our country.

Original: pencil crayon, ballpoint pen, collage; British Columbia, 12 October 1964

[Indians were] here 20,000 years ago, getting along peacefully until the White races came and stole nearly all they own. THEY ARE THE TRUE CANADIANS . If you don't care [for] the Indian head, have a beaver, a Buffalo's head - or 4 maple leaves - in light green (spring) - dark green (summer) - yellow (fall) - red (winter): The Four Seasons. 1 maple leaf in each corner.

Original: wax crayon, pencil crayon on cardboard; Ontario, n.d.

This design is not a Fleur-de-lis slapped upon the Red Ensign. This design is an appeasement to nobody! It sees value in the proposal of Sea to Sea, of the Maple Leaf Flag, and uses that proposal ....The Maple Leaf and North Star represents every Canadian. Canada! Is an Indian word, a unique name - I am favour of remembering the native Indians upon such a medium as a National Flag.

We suggest that the Canadian flag should take a symbol which will represent the true natives of this land. As suggestions, we feel it would be appropriate to have native designs such as raven, thunderbird, totem pole, or any other Indian symbol. We are sure that we speak for most of our native people. Too long have we been ignored, for Canada is our land more than anybody else's, and we should be included in this issue.

British Columbia, n.d.

As I see it the flag issue is a very serious one which could split or unite our nation....Therefore I suggest a commission be selected from our native population - Indian and Eskimos - and charge them with the responsibility of designing a truly representative flag identified with our great norther nation....They were the first people here so the responsibility of the flag can pass on to them and Canadians of all racial origins, national origins and religious beliefs can look to their flag with the same pride and respect.

Alberta, 25 November 1964

 2003 Diefenbaker Canada Centre Archives