False facts follow flag
T-shirts, caps and tourist items incorrectly referring to it as “the Republic of Newfoundland” flag not only perpetuate this falsehood but also give the impression that Newfoundland, like Ireland, was at some point a republic — it was not. While Newfoundland was an independent Dominion of the British Empire from 1907 until 1949, it was never a republic.
It is not my intent to tell Newfoundlanders what they should or shouldn’t fly as their flag — that is something they must decide for themselves. But before people raise the Pink, White and Green in the belief that it was the “old Newfoundland flag” or the “ Republic of Newfoundland” flag, I believe they should at least be aware that in actual history it was neither.
If they wish to fly it as the old Star of the Sea flag then they would be correct in doing so.
To address a sentiment from a recent Compass contributor: “I was born under the Union Jack and the pink, white and green,” while I deeply admire his pride in his past, unless he was the son of a Star of the Sea member he most certainly was not born under the PWG. The same gentleman later remarked that, “ The only flag I knew in my early years was the Union Jack,” leading me to believe that, like many Newfoundlanders, he never heard of the PWG himself until its recent push by the commercial tourism industry.
If people wish to learn more about the true origins of the Pink, White and Green flag, as well as other earlier Newfoundland flags and emblems, I encourage them to read the thoroughly researched article “Emblem of our country: The Red, White and Green Tricolour,” by Carolyn Lambert in Volume 28, No. 1 of Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, or the Wikipedia entry “Newfoundland Tricolour,” both of which are freely available on the internet .
Casey Butt writes from Detroit, Michigan. She is a former resident of
Carbonear and Harbour Grace1