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Towards the International Decade of Indigenous Languages!

To mark the announcement by the United Nations (UN) of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages starting in 2022, Wapikoni and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO), in partnership with the Canadian Museum of History, launched an International Symposium on Indigenous Languages.

This symposium, held on February 11 at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, aimed to reflect collectively on the promotion, safeguarding and revitalization of Indigenous languages by presenting cultural, media and political arts initiatives from Canada and around the world. For the occasion, the guests of honour were National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, and Tarcila Rivera Zea, a designated member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Three panels were held during the day. The creation panel, composed of Indigenous artists from Quebec, Canada and Chile, contributed to discussions on the challenges of creating in Indigenous languages and successes in supporting the emergence of talent. Following this panel, four short films by First Nations and Inuit filmmakers from the first Wapikoni creation residency were presented. These works, directed by Kevin Papatie, Jani Bellefleur-Kaltush, Ulivia Uviluk and Raymond Caplin, highlight their relationship with their languages, cultures and identities.

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                     Photo Credit: Elie-John Joseph

During the panel Influences, Odile Joannette (Executive Director of Wapikoni), Stéphane Cardin (Netflix), Joelle Robillard (Nomadic Music) and Tarcila Rivera Zea, discussed the importance of raising awareness and the dissemination of Indigenous languages in institutional, academic, political, media and community settings. The broadcasting panel looked at the different ways to promote Indigenous languages.

                                                     
                                                                  Photo Credit: Elie-John Joseph

The day of panels was followed by an honorary reception during which the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, gave a speech. The evening closed with a musical performance by Anachnid, a multidisciplinary Oji-Cree artist, under the direction of Musique nomade.

                                                                     

                                                                                                                                  Photo Credit: Elie-John Joseph

The recommendations made during this event will be published during the year in the Symposium Proceedings and will serve to initiate actions to be undertaken for the decade 2022-2032.