The Wapikoni, who’s been under the patronage of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO) since last April, was invited to take part in CCUNESCO’s Annual General Meeting, on May 25, 2017 at the McCord Museum. Manon Barbeau, Wapikoni’s executive director, briefly summarized Wapikoni’s activities in Canadian and foreign Indigenous communities and now urban centres, thanks to Vélo Paradiso, an official event of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations.
This event allowed our organization to forge closer links with different partners who support and care about Wapikoni. Many representatives of UNESCO’s Associated Schools showed a keen interest in our Indigenous Culture Awareness Workshops available that cater to students.
Though the AGM’s theme was the achievement of international climate change objectives, the importance of the arts and culture as sustainable development agents was mentioned on several occasions. Simon Brault, director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts noted that culture foster dialogue and openness, and quoted the Mexican poet Octavip Paz, "By suppressing differences and peculiarities, by eliminating different civilizations and cultures, progress weakens life and favors death" to stress the fact that "the arts will play a key role in arbitration and reconciliation between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples as well as in asserting and promoting the values and cultures of Indigenous nations,” in other words Wapikoni’s mission since its inception.