NAIT’s Flagpole Plaza designed to celebrate diversity and inclusion on campus

Space inaugurated on Aboriginal Culture Day in the spirit of truth and reconciliation

NAIT’s newly constructed Flagpole Plaza was inaugurated on Sept. 21 with a flag raising to acknowledge Aboriginal Culture Day, an annual event at the polytechnic.

Located on Main Campus at the corner of Princess Elizabeth Avenue and 106 Street, the plaza displays seven flags representing

  • NAIT (two identical flags)
  • Canada
  • Alberta
  • Edmonton
  • Treaty 6
  • The Métis Nation of Canada

The Treaty 6 and Métis flags were raised at the inauguration.

Derek Thunder, manager of the Nîsôhkamâtotân Centre at NAIT, speaks at the opening of the flagpole plaza

“I love the idea of what we’re doing – I love the visibility of what we’re doing,” said Derek Thunder, who spoke at the event and is the manager of the Nîsôhkamâtotân Centre, a place where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students can gather to network, study and share their post-secondary learning experiences at NAIT.

"I love the visibility of what we’re doing."

Thunder feels the flag raising demonstrates NAIT’s commitment to truth and reconciliation.

“It’s a small step,” he said, “but many small steps can make a big impact.”

The number of flagpoles was chosen for its significance to Indigenous communities. It represents

  • the Seven Directions: North, East, South, West, Up, Down and Inside
  • the Seven Grandfather Teachings of knowing and doing that have been passed down through generations: wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, and truth
  • the Seven Generations, the principle that what happens today with truth and reconciliation will be passed down and benefit seven generations into the future

NAIT's Flagpole Plaza, opened in September 2023

“Making these flags central to the NAIT community is part of the meaningful steps we’re taking towards reconciliation,” says Melanie Rogers, vice-president of external relations.

“I take great pride in knowing that we are making these efforts to build upon the community we have established here at NAIT.”

While the Treaty 6 and Métis flags will fly year-round alongside those of Canada, Alberta and Edmonton, one of the two NAIT flags will be replaced periodically to acknowledge days of significance and bring visibility to equity-deserving communities.

Flagpole Plaza replaces NAIT’s previous flagpoles that were located outside the South Lobby along 106 Street.

Groupl photo at NAIT's Flagpole Plaza, Nîsôhkamâtotân Centre, executive and guestsincluding staff from the

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