UBC raises Musqueam Indian Band flag

Raising of the Musqueam Flag February 25, 2019. Photo by Paul Joseph/University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia officials have permanently raised the flag of the Musqueam Indian Band on UBC’s Vancouver campus, in recognition of the university’s partnership with these First Nations people.

The flag formally signifies UC’s recognition of the Musqueam people’s traditional, ancestral lands on which the university is located. The Musqueam people never agreed to cede the land.

“Musqueam people have inhabited the same territory or millennia,” said UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa J. Ono, as the flag was raised on Feb. 25.

“We are acknowledging this past history, but we are also recognizing our present relationship with Musqueam and our responsibilities for future actions with Musqueam and other indigenous communities in Canada and worldwide.”

Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow said the permanent installation of Musqueam’s flag is another important milestone in the Musqueams’ relationship with UBC, which “is working hard to acknowledge that this is our traditional, ancestral and unceded territory. This flag is a powerful visual reminder for students and visitors, and especially for our people, who I hope are reminded that this is their traditional homeland.”

UBC officials noted what they described as a long history of partnership with the Musqueams, strengthened in recent years with the signing of a historic memorandum of affiliation in 2006 that emphasized the importance of building a long-term relationship. These initiatives have resulted in the instillation of bilingual street signs, including the Musqueam Language Program; a sequence of six UBC-accredited course in the traditional Coast Salish language of this territory, co-developed and co-taught by the UBC First Nations & Endangered Languages Program and Musqueam community members.


The flag of the Okanagan Nation Alliance was permanently raised at UBC Okanagan in September 2018 in recognition of the partnership between UBC and the Syilx Okanagan Nation.