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African Nova Scotian flag (Canada)

Last modified: 2021-04-17 by rob raeside
Keywords: african nova scotian flag | nova scotia |
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African Nova Scotian flag image by Ivan Sache, 13 March 2021

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Description of the flag

The African Nova Scotian Community is officially recognized by the Province of Nova Scotia:
And the flag is official:

There are 20,790 African Nova Scotians according to 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) conducted by Statistics Canada (which is the most recent statistical information available). African Nova Scotians make up the largest racially visible group in Nova Scotia. They represent 44% of the racially visible population which constitutes 2.3% of the total Nova Scotian population.

Explorer Mathieu Da Costa is credited with being the first to arrive as part of an expedition that founded Port Royal in 1605. In the 1700s, small populations of French and English Black settlers were part of colonial towns such as Louisbourg and early Halifax.
The first large group of immigrants were the Black Loyalists who came as refugees after the American Revolution between 1782 and 1785. About 3,500 people settled throughout Nova Scotia in communities such as Annapolis Royal, Clements, Granville, Birchtown, Brindleytown, Preston, Little Tracadie, Chedabucto and Halifax. A group of 600 exiled Jamaican Maroons followed in 1796, settling in Preston Township. They helped build Government House, worked on new fortifications at the Halifax Citadel and served in the militia.
The War of 1812 between the United States and Britain resulted in another era of significant migration. Roughly 2000 Black Refugees seeking freedom arrived in Nova Scotia between 1813 and 1816. Many settled in Halifax and Dartmouth, including two large groups in Hammonds Plains and Preston. Others went to smaller communities around the province such as Cobequid Road, Five Mile Plains, Beechville, Porter’s Lake, Fletcher’s Lake, Prospect Road, Beaverbank, Avonport, Pine Woods, Pictou and Mill Village.
The early 1900s saw the last historic group of black settlers arrive in Nova Scotia as hundreds of Caribbean immigrants, known as the “later arrivals”, came to Cape Breton to work in the steel mills and coal mines.
African Nova Scotian Affairs (ANSA) - Government of the Province of Nova Scotia

The official African Nova Scotian flag was raised at noon on 15 February 2021 outside the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia in Cherry Brook, N.S. The idea for an African Nova Scotian flag has been many years in the making, designer Wendy Wilson said, but the flag is being officially recognized for the first time this year. Wilson came up with the idea when her daughter, now in her final year at university, was researching Mi'kmaw, Acadian, and African Nova Scotian history for a middle-school project. That's when Wilson, who is a visual artist, realized there was no such thing as an African Nova Scotian flag. So she started researching and designing a flag that could represent her heritage.

Wilson said each colour on the flag symbolizes something different; red for blood and sacrifice, gold for cultural richness, green for fertility and growth, and black for the people. The design in the middle of the flag is Wilson's stylized adaptation of Sankofa, an ancient Adinkra symbol conceived in West Africa, which signifies the importance of bringing past knowledge to the present. Wilson's version incorporates a wave, representing the ocean and her ancestors' journey through the Middle Passage. There's also half of a heart with a yin and yang symbol, representing "heartbreak balanced with awareness."
"The image is encompassed within an incomplete circle, representing those things absent but yet to come," she said during the live-streamed event.

Wilson said although the process of making the flag official – reaching out to numerous African Nova Scotian organizations and working with the province's office of African Nova Scotian Affairs – was "daunting," it was necessary.
New official African Nova Scotian flag looking to connect past, present and future - CBC, 15 February 2021
Flag inauguration ceremony - YouTube, 17 February 2021 (flag hoisting starts at 15:00)
Flag use by Nova Scotia Premier - CTV News, 5 March 2021
Flag hoisting in Sir John A MacDonald High School, 1 February 2021
Ivan Sache, 12-13 March 2021