The Labrador flag has long been a point of pride for many people in the Big Land, and some locals say it deserves more respect.
At a small gathering to raise the flag in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Thursday, the town’s deputy mayor and other residents said it was time the provincial government officially recognize the Labrador flag.
“As we know the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador are distinct land masses and each contributing to the well-being of the province,” Deputy Mayor Cora Hamel Pardy told CBC News.
“As a resident of Labrador, I would love to see the flag flying at borders, at official buildings — fully recognized.”
The Labrador flag is widely accepted as a symbol for the region, but has never been recognized officially by the province.
It flew for the first time on March 31, 1974. Mike Martin, the first native-born Labrador MHA, is credited as the driving force behind its design.
It has three horizontal stripes: blue, green and white; in the upper left corner there is a spruce twig.
Last year, it was officially placed at Labrador’s border crossings with Quebec, after residents unofficially hoisted it there months earlier.
On Thursday, a small group gathered in front of the town hall in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to raise the flag. But the one they raised is not your run-of-the-mill banner.
This flag was one of the first created and circulated to all the communities in Labrador in 1974.
Most of these original flags were hand sewn by Martin’s wife, Patricia. The words “Home Made” are stitched into the upper corner.
Aimee Chaulk, the editor of Labrador magazine Them Days, says the flag has been a unifying force since its creation.
“It said we have an identity. It was a symbol that proclaimed the identity of Labradorians,” Chaulk said.
“If you look around it’s everywhere. It’s on sweaters, on t-shirts, on garbage cans. It’s literally everywhere.”
On Twitter, some Labradorians were asking whether the new Liberal government chose to fly the flag today in front of Confederation Building in St. John’s, with one pointing out the Progressive Conservative government did so last year.
The flag did not fly at Confederation Building on Thursday.