The white pine has been placed at the centre of Montréal’s new coat of arms. It symbolizes the Tree of Peace and represents the Indigenous peoples as one of five “original peoples in the founding and historical development of the metropolis” along with the French, English, Scottish and Irish.
Montréal Mayor Denis Coderre was accompanied by the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Ghislain Picard in unveiling the city’s new coat of arms and flag on the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“Today is a historical day for Montréal,” said Coderre. “As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we are adding a key component to our strategy of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples: the redesigning of the coat of arms and the unveiling of the new Montréal flag.
“The symbol of white pine completes the city’s coat of arms to evoke a message of concord and living together, while reminding us of the millennial political and diplomatic history of our island and the people who inhabited it. By becoming a Metropolis of Reconciliation, we wish to send a strong message of peace, justice and respect for human rights, all of which are principles to which the city is firmly committed.”
Picard said the City of Montreal demonstrates it commitment by acknowledging, in its coat of arms and flag, the historical and contemporary presence of Indigenous peoples.
“I want to thank the Committee members who agreed that the white pine at the heart of the circle represents our unity and cultures on this First Nation unceded territory.”
The white pine was chosen by an advisory committee designated by the AFNQL, made up of members from various First Nations (Mohawks, Anishnabes, Innus), both from the urban community and reserves, as well as a representative from the Centre d’histoire de Montréal. The committee was accompanied throughout its meetings by the Canadian Heraldic Authority.