The Herald for Canada, from the Office of the Governor General, presented the First Nations Tax Commission with its Heraldic Emblems in Vancouver, British Columbia on December 16, 2008. The sixty minute ceremony was attended by Commissioners and staff, as well other guests culminating an eighteen-month process.
Chief Commissioner Jules provided the assembled guests with a history of the project, and detailed the significance of the event. “The importance of symbolism cannot be underestimated…something that is critically important for our people. I believe this gives us (FNTC) a sense of permanency.”
Mr. John Jules, brother of the Chief Commissioner, performed the opening song and blessing, and spoke of the cultural significance of the symbols. Mr. Jules closed the ceremony with an honour song.
Mr. Bruce Patterson of the Canadian Heraldic Authority performed the official unveiling of the FNTC Coat of Arms. As the Saint-Laurent Herald, Mr. Patterson is the Registrar of the Authority, responsible for the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada.
Mr. Patterson provided context to the meaning of each detail on the Coat of Arms. A winter lodge, used by the Shuswap peoples, sits on top of coyote fur over the crest. An otter and a coyote, stand on each side of the crest holding an eagle feather and garnished with a wreath. All is set upon a mound of grass over wavy water. The motto, “NESAYKA MAMOOK CHEE WAYHUT” is Chinook for “We Build a New Path”. Also unveiled were a flag, a gavel, a badge and staffs. Mr. Robert Watt, former Chief Herald of Canada also attended the ceremony and spoke to the history of the new Coat of Arms.
Chief Commissioner Jules concluded the ceremony by discussing the importance of symbolism: “These symbols reflect who we are and what our vision is for the future. Our future is to be a fundamental part of this federation known as Canada. In order for Canada to achieve its continued greatness, they have to completely embrace First Nation governments. And that’s what our mission is.”