Last modified: 2019-11-20 by rick wyatt
Keywords: canada: first nations | odanak nation |
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image by Jorge Hurtado
from a table flag
image by Janis Lasmanis, 22 July 2019
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 by Jorge 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
image located by André Flicher, 28 August 2019