As we were approaching The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we took out the paint colours of the Indigenous flag; red, yellow and black. Yellow represents the sun, red represents the land, and black represents Indigenous people. The activity was left open-ended so the children could use their creativity, and also take the time to ask questions and have conversations about the colours and the significance they have to Indigenous people and their culture.
"Why are you painting your hand black?", one artist asked the educator. The educator replied, "I want to put handprints on my paper. Do you want to try?" They thought for a moment before using their handprints to start creating their painting. "This is my bird!", the painter said proudly.
"Look, I painted mine all black! I don't want to use any other colour!", another artist exclaimed.
"That's okay!", said the educator, "You don't have to use all the colours. This is your art."
"Does anyone remember what the colours of the indigenous flag mean?", the educator asked all the artists.
One artist replied "Yellow is the sun, red is the land, and I forgot what black means...maybe orange shirt day?"
"Yellow does mean the sun, and red does mean land and black represents all indigenous people", the educator replied.
"Ohhh" said the artist, "I am going to show my mom my painting and tell her about the colours!"
As one of the painters was going home, the educator overheard them talking to their parent excitedly.
"Look at my painting! The yellow is the sun, the red is the land and the black means indigenous people!", they said as they held the painting up for their parent to see.