The city’s flag just doesn’t fly with a class of Salmon Arm Secondary students who suggest a more fitting update is needed.
According to a letter sent by students of Ryon Ready’s Grade 9 Sciences Humaines class at the Salmon Arm Secondary’s J.L. Jackson campus, the city’s current flag, which features the municipality’s logo, is more of a banal banner than a symbol of the community.
The focus of the students’ letter, however, isn’t so much on what is as what could be.
The letter explains the class recently studied flags and symbolism. It concluded a flag should be simple and meaningful – and without text or logos. The students explain flags can be a symbols of unity, but also colonialism and settlement, adding the inclusion of diverse voices in any design can help avoid the latter.
The class suggests the city should consider designing a new flag that the town can be proud of.
“We should have a flag that represents Salmon Arm for Salmon Arm, we shouldn’t have to read it,” offers Tegan Schielke and Hannah Mackie in one of several separate letters included in a package submitted by the Grade 9 class to city council.
To help council, the class submitted with their letters numerous alternative flags designed by the students. The designs include descriptions by their creator(s), noting as what the flag represents and why it might be a contender for the city.
A sun over mountains and Shuswap Lake beneath feature boldly in Amelie Ewanyshyn and Kaelah Riley’s three-coloured flag design.
“The different colours represent our colourful outlook on life,” Amelie and Kaelan explain. “The blue of our lake represents the trust, stability and intelligence in our community.”
Tegan and Hannah offered three flag options, two of which use green and an image of a salmon to reflect being on unseeded territory of Secwepemc First Nation, and the annual salmon run.
For her offering, an image of a chinook salmon with a strong human arm, Sadie Maddigan explains the fish are native to the area, while the arm represents the strong connections residents have to one another, “and that we have our beliefs held tight in our fist.” Maddigan uses purple in her flag to represent Salmon Arm’s laid back nature, orange for fish eggs and Salmon Arm’s fertile future, and blue to represent the lake and how much the it’s depended upon.
City council was grateful for submission and was informed by staff that the city is working with the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society (SAEDS) on designing a new flag.
Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond asked that staff welcome students from Ready’s class be a part of the process.
“I feel there’s a valuable learning opportunity for all included and it may not look like what their proposals are but I can tell you as a designer, your final result rarely looks like what you started out with,” said Wallace Richmond. “It’s the journey that makes the difference.”
Coun. Kevin Flynn noted the city’s flag doesn’t reflect its current brand and logo and is in need of an update regardless. And though he supported Wallace Richmond’s motion, he wanted the students to be informed how much time and energy went into the rebrading process.