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September 23, 2002
Historic flag raising of the Wiphala at Toronto City Hall
  
Over 100 members of the Andean indigenous people living in Toronto attended the
first raising of the Wiphala on the podium roof of City Hall on Saturday,
September 21, 2002. The ceremony celebrated the autumn equinox, the 7th
anniversary of the Andean Council of First Nations and recognized the presence
of the growing population of Andean indigenous peoples in Toronto.

The Wiphala was raised to the music of the sacred Andean National Anthem, "El
Condor Pasa." The Wiphala is a symbol of indigenous resistance and is made up
of 49 squares of the 7 colours of the rainbow. The territory of the indigenous
Andean population includes Bolivia, Ecuador, northern Chile, Argentina and
southern Columbia.

"This is a momentous occasion for our people to be given this honour by the
municipal government," said Ivan Ignacio, President of the Andean Council of
First Nations.

Marco Guzman, now a Toronto resident from the Aymara First Nations of Bolivia,
noted that indigenous people from the Andean region do not have the status as
other groups in Latin America or here in Canada. "We have to fight to gain that
recognition."

The ceremony was held in conjunction with the Native Canadian Centre of
Toronto, the Canada-Colombia Solidarity Campaign, and the Mayan Council Sac'Be
and Food for Chiapas. The ceremony included the Eagleheart singers of the Cree
and Ojibway nations and a performance of the traditional scissor dance in
tribute to the flag.


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