Last modified: 2006-01-21 by phil nelson
Keywords: canada: first nations | odanak nation | beaver | maple leaf | arrows | native american | turtle | bear |
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by Jorhge Hurtado
from a table flag
by Luc Baronian
The flag of the Indian nation of Odanak in Quebec was adopted at the end of 20th century.
Source is Michel Lupant (Gaceta de Banderas #65)
Symbols in the corners are: a black turtle, a black bear, a maple leaf and
a yellow bird over a black rectangle.
The image on by Jorhge Hurtado, based on Jaume Ollé's description, is
probably an erroneous reproduction. I visited the community in the late 1990s
and I have a table flag version that looks very different. I also have good
reasons to believe that the flag stands for both Abénakis communities of
Quebec, not only Odanak. I saw the flag in a 1999 issue of Rencontre (21:2, p.
4), behind a leader of the Grand Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki, the council
representing both communities. I have also seen a picture of a statue in Wôlinak
with the same motifs represented on the flag and the Waban-Aki council uses
them on its symbol, so it probably stands for the nation as a whole. My young
guide in the Odanak Native museum, however, told me that it was the flag of
Odanak. He also informed me that on the flag, the turtle represents wisdom and
the calendar (the divisions on the animal's shell are seen as representing the
months), the bear represents force and courage, the maple leaves represent
Canada and he couldn't remember what the eagle stood for (nor did any of the
two councils answer my letters). It is worth noting that the maple leaves,
green, as they usually are in Québec heraldry and vexillology, might have a
connection with the oral tradition according to which it was the Abénakis,
one of the main and first allies of the French, who taught French-Canadians
the art of making maple syrup from the sugar maple. The Odanak museum also
prominently displays how maple syrup was made by the ancient Abénakis.
Luc Baronian, 26 May 2005