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Every Child Matters: an important social movement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

« Every Child Matters »: an important social movement. Wapikoni is getting involved this year; join the movement! 

Montreal, September 29, 2020. – Wapikoni is proud to support and participate in the Every Child Matters movement and will get involved in several ways this year. It urges other organizations, academic and cultural institutions, Indigenous communities, businesses and citizens as well as families of all backgrounds to get interested in and choose to join this important social movement created during the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2013. 

« Every Child Matters », what is this movement?
The movement honours residential school survivors, their families, and communities. During the « Orange Shirt Day », held each September 30th everyone should wear an orange shirt to show their support. The day is a legacy of the St. Joseph's Mission Residential School commemoration event held in Williams Lake, British Columbia in the spring of 2013. It was the story of Phyllis Webstad whose new orange shirt had been taken off on her first day of school at the mission that became the symbol of reconciliation in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to children's sense of self-esteem and well being, and as an affirmation of our commitment to ensure that everyone around us matters. 

« Every Child Matters », why participate?
Since reconciliation necessarily entails education, the more of us who wear our orange sweaters, understand why we do it and explain to those around us why it matters to us, the more we will contribute to the education of our societies. Moreover, it is in this momentum that Wapikoni has produced and graciously offered orange t-shirts with the mention of the movement written in French, English, and Spanish for the 2020 edition. Stay tuned following editions where several indigenous languages will be honoured! 

The National Center for Truth and Reconciliation, custodian of a collection of nearly 7,000 statements and some 5 million records on residential school survivors, annually hosts a special event every September 30. Taking place this year in virtual mode, the event will allow young listeners to learn first-hand from residential school survivors, elders, knowledge keepers, artists and leaders of Nations and cultures from across the country. Teachers can select the events they want to stream live to their students and download free educational resources. Wapikoni encourages teachers from grade 5 of elementary to secondary 5 to register here , today. Already, there are nearly 10,000 teachers and more than 320,000 students who have confirmed their participation! 

This year, a "live television" program format will be offered in 2 blocks of 45 minutes. In these two educational programs, we called on, among others, Wapikoni for the selection of some excerpts from Wapikoni’s shorts that promote truth and reconciliation, curated by two members of the Wapikoni collective: Jazmine Smith, from the Cree Nation, currently living in Vancouver, and Christopher Grégoire-Gabriel, an Innu artist from Uashat mak Mani-utenam. 

«These films are excellent resources to support all learners. They offer educators and students the rare opportunity to experience the stories of Indigenous peoples told in Indigenous languages, French and English. » - Ry Moran, Director, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. 

Educational tools and more information will be sent to registered teachers to help them prepare for the streaming event. In addition, as part of this event, Wapikoni officially launches its educational guide intended for schools and produced in collaboration with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, an educational tool introducing the diversity of indigenous cultures in Canada. It will be accessible to all teachers who register for the event. 

« We are delighted to have collaborated with Wapikoni in the development of this superb educational guide. This relevant and necessary tool is an excellent introduction to the richness of Indigenous histories and cultures - too long ignored by school curricula. Schools and education have a crucial role to play in advancing reconciliation and achieving full recognition of the rights of First Nations, Métis and Inuit. » - Sébastien Goupil, Secretary-General, Canadian Commission for UNESCO . 

Wapikoni and CCUNESCO developed this guide in collaboration with Indigenous partners and educators from the UNESCO Schools Network. Educators can find more information on this Teaching Guide and how to use it on the CCUNESCO blog and on Wapikoni’s dedicated webpage

« We are committed not only to offer various points of views expressed through the eyes of the creators of our collective, but also to raise awareness on this movement and event. At Wapikoni, we know that children from past generations still guide us through the sharing of their knowledge, that today's children inspire us greatly when it comes to future leadership and we understand that we have a responsibility to reflect on the actions that must be taken now to ensure the protection of tomorrow's children. We want to draw attention to this movement, tell our story and talk about our path of resistance and resilience because it is the only path in which real reconciliation can take place. » - Odile Joannette, Executive Director of Wapikoni. 

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About Wapikoni
Wapikoni is an Indigenous organization that fosters artistic creation and excellence to serve the narrative sovereignty of Nations. Our mission is to promote the expression of Indigenous creative talents through short films, music and XR projects, to promote their works across Canada and the world, to offer our collective of artists a space for personal, artistic and professional development where they can meet, be inspired, identify and prize accomplishments while also promoting the creation of bridges and spaces that contribute to social and societal transformations. 

About National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) was created to preserve the memory of Canada’s Residential School system and legacy. Not just for a few years, but forever. The NCTR is a creation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement , signed in 2007 by representatives of former students of the schools, the Government of Canada, Churches, the Assembly of First Nations, and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. 

About Canadian Commission for UNESCO
The Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO) serves as a bridge between Canadians and the vital work of UNESCO—the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Through its networks and partners, the Commission promotes UNESCO values, priorities and programs in Canada and brings the voices of Canadian experts to the international stage. CCUNESCO operates under the authority of the Canada Council for the Arts. 

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Source: Hélène Gagnon | Communications Manager, Wapikoni, communication@wapikoni.ca