Rencontres autochtones in Rigaud


PHOTO COURTESY VENT-ARTS

Atikamekw songwriter Laura Niquay during her musical performance at Le Café de l’Horloge in Rigaud presented during Les Rencontres autochtones on April 14.

Over the weekend of April 13 and 14, the Town of Rigaud hosted the first edition of ‘Rencontres autochtones,’ a series of native-themed events organized by the non-profit organization Vent-Arts.

The event aimed at educating and raising awareness of native culture and history in the region. The program offered a number of varied activities, mainly centered around short and feature-length documentary films for both adults and children. Other key events included a conference on local native history given by Rigaud Councillor Archie Martin and a musical performance by Laura Niquay at the Café de l’Horloge.

The weekend drew in a number of people from Rigaud and the surrounding towns. Laura Niquay’s musical presentation was the highlight with attendees filling Café de l’Horloge to capacity.

Things got started April 13 at the Louise-Querbes auditorium of Collège Bourget with the screening of Inuk en colère—the documentary by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril on the controversial seal hunt and its financial and social impact on the Inuit.

Saturday’s programming took advantage of animation to introduce younger viewers to native culture with a series of short documentary films, all centered on, “…those people that came before us, and that we sometimes tend to forget,” said Sebastien Roy, co-founder of Vents-Arts and one of the organizers, before the presentation.

“For a first experience, we are very satisfied,” Roy said. “Laura Niquay’s performance filled the room at Café de l’Horloge. It was standing room only at the back.” Roy received complimentary feedback from attendees, some even offering to volunteer for future Vents-Arts events.

“We had attendees from Rigaud, but also from Sainte-Marthe, Coteau-du-Lac and Vaudreuil-Dorion,” he said. Roy feels satisfied with the turnout, especially given the subject, which he feels is more of a niche interest.

Roy says that people were mostly drawn in by their interest in learning about local native history.

“The conference given by Archie Martin was well received, because he talked about the local native history around Rigaud and on the Outaouais River,” he said.

Roy was also pleased with the response to the viewing of Inuk en colère. “The movie shook people up. We are told that seal hunt is bad but Inuit need it for their survival.”

Even though there is no immediate plan to repeat the event next year, Roy leaves the door open to a second edition. You can find out about Vent-Arts activities by visiting their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ventarts.

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