MaoriFlag.+MichaelSmithND

This Maori Anglican flag has hung in the office of North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith since 2003, symbolizing relationships among indigenous peoples in the Lord. It was carried all over New Zealand by marchers at the Hikoi of Hope in 1998, where 40,000 demonstrators converged on Wellington on their way to Parliament, demanding rights, respect and better conditions for Maori people. The march “kind of put social justice back on the agenda,” Bishop Don Tamihere of the Tikanga Maori Diocese of Tairawhiti told Episcopal News Service last month. Smith received the flag as a gift from Maori Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe as part of an Anglican Indigenous Network meeting in Rotorua when Smith was still a priest working on an Indian reservation in Minnesota. He treats the Maori flag with great respect and doesn’t want to be ungracious concerning a gift, but as he gets older he feels the flag, with all its history, belongs back home. Smith, a Potawatomi from Oklahoma, said he plans to keep telling the flag’s story until, at his death, it returns to New Zealand. (photo: Bishop Michael Smith; reportage: Episcopal News Service)

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