Edmonton debates adding Indigenous flags to city hall grounds

The City of Edmonton is looking to add two more flagpoles outside city hall to fly the Treaty 6 and Metis flags alongside the three existing flags.

This is to recognize that Edmonton sits on land that is traditional Métis and Treaty 6 First Nations territory, said Mayor Don Iveson.

It's important to "tangibly acknowledge the traditional territory and founding peoples of this place," Iveson said.

The two additional flags will join the three that currently fly outside city hall: the city flag, the Canadian flag and the Alberta flag.

An idea to change Edmonton's city flag to incorporate Indigenous history was debated at the community and public services committee meeting on Monday.

"For the time being I think the flag that we have will do," said Iveson. He cited a city staff report that noted only seven Edmonton residents bothered to respond to a recent online survey about replacing the city's official flag. 

"The time may come to modernize it," Iveson said. "I'm not sure that time is today."

Not everyone at the committee meeting was in support of the proposal to add the two flags outside city hall.

"I kind of like the idea of one flag that includes everybody as opposed to starting now to pick ... all kinds of other flags," said Coun. Bryan Anderson. "I kind of like inclusivity myself, one flag for all."

Adding the two flagpoles involves minimal cost, said Iveson. However, the idea still has to go to a full meeting of city council for approval.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 21.

If approved, it's expected the additional flagpoles would be installed shortly thereafter.