At the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
For the third consecutive year, Wapikoni took part in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Represented by Darrell McBride, a participant hailing from the community of Timiskaming First Nations and by Christian Morissette, Head of Distribution and Market Development, the goal was to talk about Wapikoni’s approach and its contribution to the fight against suicide and self-mutilation by youth in the communities.
Given the huge number of requests to give speeches, Darrell McBride was not able to take the floor. However, the following speech was filed and registered with the Forum:
Speach before the Chairman of the
14th United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Darrell McBride, Wapikoni mobile
Hello and greetings to all the Nations under the sun, who gathered here today to engage in dialogue, to help our original people of Planet Earth. I would also like to acknowledge the memory of the Lenape people whose traditional territory we are meeting in today.
My name is Darrell McBride and I come from the Anishnabe community of Timiskaming First Nation in Quebec, Canada. I am here representing Wapikoni mobile, a traveling audio-visual training studio for First Nations youth that has been in activity for the past ten years in 26 communities in Canada and 17 in South America.
Wapikoni combats isolation and suicide among First Nations youth while developing artistic, technical, social, and professional skills through cinema; a powerful tool allowing First Nations youth voices to be heard, first in their communities and then all around the world among many audiences.
Wapikoni’s activities strongly focus on Suicide Preventive Factors. Our four week workshops in the communities provide recreational time; develop a sense of cultural identity, thus self-esteem. It also provides access to a network of peers and social services professionals who offer attention and support to our youth when they need it.
My home has 750 members living on reserve. We are a very small, very strong community and we have managed to preserve our culture though we are completely assimilated to modern convention. Our population from Youth to Elders have the same fight when it comes to living in isolated regions and Wapikoni has given us the means to express our views and artistic expressions on a world stage. I have begun a project mirroring Wapikoni’s successful model to offer a full multimedia studio to any community member who would like to express themselves through Film, Theater, Music, Photography or Art. Investing in time with people on artistic endeavours creates a bond, and once this bond is present a client in crisis can be identified and hopefully reached. I have trained in Crisis and Trauma, Suicide and medical first response and can offer assistance to clients in need of professional services.
In 2014 Wapikoni Mobile received the Intercultural Innovation Award from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group making our organization one of ten most innovative programs in the world. We have a collection of more than 750 short films made by indigenous youth. Among these films, many are part of a specific program emphasising suicide issues and presented in the frame of prevention workshops we are willing to share with all Indigenous representatives here today as well as with any organizations that makes indigenous youth wellness its priority.
I have faith that with modern technology, and the priority to access it, the Indigenous people of the World will have a chance to participate and share their perspective with all nations under the Sun; the future is now and our youth are the future.