FARGO — The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa will be the first Indigenous nation to plant its flag at the International Peace Garden, located on the border of the United States and Canada.
The flag-raising ceremony on Saturday will be a “momentous” event in the Indigenous nation’s history, Turtle Mountain Tribal Chairman Jamie Azure said.
“As our flag flies along an international border and within the land of our ancestors, it is a show of respect, sovereignty, partnership and the strength of all nations,” the chairman said.
The International Peace Garden — which lies between North Dakota and Manitoba and was formed by the U.S. and Canada in 1932 — worked with the tribe for a year to coordinate the flag raising. Melinda Goodman, director of marketing and communication, said the flag will fly at the International Peace Garden among the United States of America, Canada, North Dakota and Manitoba flags.
Raising the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa’s flag was a “natural first step in rebuilding relationships and acknowledging first nations at the peace garden,” Goodman said, adding that the eventual goal is to have more Indigenous nation’s flags flying there.
“This is an important recognition of the role first nations played in the Turtle Mountain region and the building of the peace garden,” Goodman said.
The ceremony will also include the unveiling of a quote from Chief Red Thunder, which will be written on a wall inside of the Peace Chapel, alongside more than 60 quotes from presidents, prime ministers and religious leaders. The quote, which comes from Red Thunder's speech during the McCumber Commission negotiations, is the first to represent the voice of the First Nations.
The ceremony will last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the International Peace Garden on Saturday and will include lunch as well as several cultural demonstrations such as storytelling, dancing and drumming.
“The Native drum is the heartbeat of the Turtle Mountains. It’s important that the heartbeat is loud and clear,” Azure said. The ceremony, he said, “is another opportunity for our people to bring our culture out.”