Posted by Peter Roaf on Jun 30, 2021
Rotary's Raise A Flag program in South Delta has coincided with a period of national mourning with the discovery of remains of children from the Tk’emlùps te Secwèpemc First Nation in unmarked graves at the residential school in Kamloops, and more recently in Saskatchewan.
Planning and development of the Raise A Flag program, by the Rotary Clubs of Ladner and Tsawwassen, began months ago to provide a means for local residents and businesses to demonstrate national pride on special occasions, and raise funds for projects which contribute to our communities where there is need.
The opportunity our Rotary clubs were aiming to provide was demonstration of national pride through temporary displays of flags of Canada around Canada Day, Labor Day and Remembrance Day for a rental fee directed to community service projects after considerable expense of supplies and volunteer time for production and distribution.  
We have learned from many in our community that, despite our best intention, this Raise A Flag display might not have come at an ideal time.
Rotary members are active in peace building activities around the world. We, Canadians, have a lot for which we can feel grateful. We live in one of the most fortunate nations. But the tragic legacy of the residential schools system requires all of us to focus on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its recommendations calling for action. 
The responsibility for all of us to learn and to work towards reconciliation is going to take a significant commitment of time. We know all of the missing children have not yet been found and that grief and healing cannot be rushed.  Our hearts go out to families and their loved ones who are grieving for the missing children and their fellow students who experienced the Residential School System.
Rotary is a leader in peace and conflict resolution. It is one of Rotary's key areas of focus. In keeping with that priority we can work towards greater understanding of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and determine how we might serve our community based on its recommendations.  
Recently Ladner Rotary held a peace conversation on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) with facilitation support from Rotary partner, Mediators Beyond Borders International. DEI is a key strategy for Rotary worldwide. In that way we recognize that we can improve our relationships with, and increase inclusion of, Indigenous Peoples through deeper understanding.