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Miro peicak, welcome to Wemotaci!

// Cynthia Smith

After some shopping in Montreal and encounters at the grocery store in La Tuque, suitcases and groceries in the car, pounding heart and a smile from ear to ear, it's a start for the first stopover of the summer! 

It's good for the soul to get away from the city as and when we get in the Atikamekw territory. There is a peace that settles in me, among the beauties of Mother Earth, when we embarked on the road 25, made of gravel, as the day falls and as the numerous hares have fun greeting us across the way. As if the magic of the territory hadn't finished to shine, we are witnessing one of the most beautiful sunsets we have been allowed to see. Life hasn't finished to welcome us generously while a moose comes to greet us on the edge of the road. You see, I already feel at home on this land of my brothers and sisters Atikamekw, Nehirisiw.

Before leaving, we were advised to call the sweet Atisoko Chilton because it was she who was going to direct us to our new home. Neither Fernand-Philippe nor myself remembered that we had to call her from La Tuque, the last town where the cellular signal travels ... The Wapikoni adventure then started at 9:30pm on a Wednesday night in search of Atisoko! Youths and people of Wemotaci were hospitable and friendly with these two strangers who were playing Where's Waldo! Thanks to them, a few minutes later, we were on the doorstep of Atisoko's house, keys in hand!

After a few days, the whole team met : our faithful and energetic field coordinator Jackie Basile, our humorous and warm assistant trainer Canouk Newashish, our two filmmakers trainers Fernand-Philippe Morin Vargas and Marie-Cecile Dietlin, and myself, youth outreach worker Cynthia Smith. It seems that the multiculturalism tradition of the Wemotaci team continues as we are, respectively, two Atikamekws, a Colombian-Quebecker, a French and an Anishinaabekwe. While most young people have deserted the village temporarily for a trip to Belgium, on ancestral territory for the cultural week or to the interscholastic games, projects come from everywhere and we have the chance to introduce some young people to the magic of cinema by sounds and cameras workshops.

So we have the great pleasure, once again, to see the light come in the eyes of people of Wemotaci when they share their projects with us: Jessica Vollant offers us a film about traditional tobacco use versus contemporary cigarette, Steven Chilton shares with us the portrait of his family living with the challenges of Alzheimer distressing his mother, Brian Coocoo takes us to the discovery of the Atikamekw sovereignty, Myrann Newashish strings us along with a contemplative film based on a poem she wrote and Laura Niquay made us dance with a video clip of one of her catchy songs. 

To be continued ! :)