North Bay mayor Al McDonald and Nipissing First Nation Chief Marianna Couchie raise Nipissing First Nation's flag together at city hall on June 19 for Aboriginal Day.

North Bay mayor Al McDonald and Nipissing First Nation Chief Marianna Couchie raise Nipissing First Nation’s flag together at city hall on June 19 for Aboriginal Day.

By Kelly Anne Smith

NORTH BAY – Donna Mcleod-Shabogesic, citizen of Nipissing First Nation, is proud to have initiated raising her flag at North Bay’s city hall.

“I inquired to North Bay City Hall if they were acknowledging National Aboriginal Day on June 21. It was Mayor McDonald who said that a ceremonial flag-raising would be appropriate. He has been so supportive.“

At the June 19 flag raising, Alderville First Nation citizen Maurice Switzer suggested to Mayor Al McDonald that permanently flying the Nipissing First Nation flag would be a great show of respect and cooperation with the City of North Bay.  McDonald responded graciously. “Sure, of course, please send in a request.”

Chief Marianna Couchie was all smiles.

“I’m definitely following up,” says Chief Couchie.”I think it’s great. We have built such a good working relationship with the City of North Bay and Mayor McDonald. It is nice to see our flag flying here (at city hall) to show our partnership. I know they have the three flags here but we are the Original Peoples.”

During the Aboriginal Day celebration at Garden Village, Chief Couchie told about 300 people in attendance that their flag would be raised at the North Bay City Hall. “You could feel the warmth. They were happy.”

Chief Couchie points out that the Anishinabek Flag now flies on the Bridge of Nations in Sudbury.