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The flag was first used by Metis fighters in 1816. It is the oldest Canadian patriotic flag indigenous to Canada. As a symbol of nationhood, the Metis flag predates Canada’s Maple Leaf flag by about 150 years.
Both flags use a horizontal figure eight, or infinity symbol. This represents the coming together of two distinct and vibrant cultures, European and indigenous, to produce a distinctly new culture, the Metis. It symbolizes the creation of a new society with roots in both Aboriginal and European cultures and traditions. The sky blue background emphasizes the infinity symbol and suggests that the Metis people will exist forever. The red flag may have been created by Metis employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company (red and white being the traditional colours of the fur trade giant).
The blue flag is the more commonly used signifier, but with the national rebirth of Metis pride and consciousness, both flags were brought back and remain potent symbols of Metis heritage.