The wind was gently sending the flags flapping in the air as the Bloodline Drum Group took their seats for the Ktunaxa Flag Song on June 14.
As the circle of woman sang, the flag was pulled higher over Mount Baker Secondary School to mark the week leading up to Aboriginal Day on June 21.
The community will celebrate on June 22 at the St. Eugene Gold Resort and Casino, but the flag raising ceremony marked a change in attitudes that many of the gathered elders could never imagine when they were high school aged.
Katherine Teneese, chairperson of the Ktunaxa Nation Council commended the students who organized the event, and reflected on her own experience as a student at Mount Baker.
"I think it's really important that these gestures take place," she said, going on to say she could have never imagined the Ktunaxa flag rising over the school when she was a student.
She was happy to see the flag flying along with the Ktunaxa name of Mount Baker printed on the side of the school, and proud of the students who made sure the event happened.
Chief Cheryl Casimer from the St. Mary's First Nation said the flag is a symbol of what the nation is.
"It is a good day today," she told the gathered elders, students and guests. "It's always a good day to be able to showcase and show who we are as a nation."
Joe Pierre, Aboriginal Education agreement facilitator for School District 5 and a councillor with the St. Mary's Indian Band, said the current school board and trustees are to thank for such a great atmosphere for Aboriginal students and gestures such as the flag raising.
"We are allowed to do something like this here today because of the support we receive from them," he said.
After the brief ceremony, elders, guests and students were invited inside for a light lunch but the flag remained over the building, a symbol of the Ktunaxa Nation.