For the first time since its inception in 2003, Wapikoni Mobile – recently appointed official UNESCO partner – participated to the Forum of NGOs in official partnership with UNESCO on December 7-8, 2017. This eight edition with hundreds of representatives from 110 countries and the new Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Audrey Azoulay, focued on climate change.
Wapikoni Mobile invited Chief Jean-Charles Piétacho from Ekuanitshit, a leader for the environment and directed two shorts with Wapikoni, to speak on the behalf of the audiovisual organization but also of Quebec’s Indigenous populations, which is exactly what he did during the two-day conference.
During the “World Heritage, Biosphere Reserves and Indigenous People’s Knowledge and Action” discussion, Mr. Piétacho showed the short film Shipu, directed by two young women from his community, Shanice Mollen Picard and Uapukun Mestokosho Mckenzie, who stress the importance of protecting the rivers as non-Indigenous governments are getting richer at the expense of Indigenous peoples.
He then mentioned Wapikoni’s mission, accomplishments as well as the dire need to amplify young Indigenous peoples’ voices and include them in the debate. He stressed the importance of video as a tool for mediation and to raise people’s awareness on various Indigenous issues.
You can watch him here give his address in French (starting at 6 min 30): video.
Wapikoni’s participation to UNESCO forums is a turning point for the organization as the UNESCO is working on a policy on engaging with Indigenous peoples. Wapikoni is one of UNESCO’s few Indigenous NGO partners, and its wide network makes it an expert on Indigenous issues. It is worth nothing that Wapikoni has collaborated with people from over 25 Nations and 67 communities in Canada and abroad, and founded the International Network for Aboriginal Audio-Visual Creation (INAAC) in 2014. Wapikoni will continue to participate to various UNESCO events and forums in order to amplify the voices of Indigenous youth.
We want to extend a special thank you to Chief Piétacho for his wonderful words at the Forum. We would also like to thank Claude Audet-Robitaille for her warm welcome.
From left to right : Chief Jean-Charles Piétacho, Ms. Élaine Ayotte, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Canada to UNESCO and Ms. Claude Audet-Robitaille, Adviser at the Ministry for International Relations and Francophonie
***Photo credits: Claude Audet-Robitaille