Haida delegation heads to France

  • Jun. 9, 2006 9:00 a.m.

A delegation of 27 Haida will travel to France to participate in the 1st International Forum of United Indigenous Peoples (June 19 – 25), conceived and hosted by the town of Pau (southwest France).
Up to 350 indigenous participants from over 20 Indigenous nations around the world are expected, and up to 100,000 visitors during the seven day event.
The Haida have been invited to the forum as guests of honour. The delegation ranges in age from 1 to 71 years, and is comprised of hereditary leaders, elders, political leaders, including Guujaaw -Council of the Haida Nation president and noted carvers and artists such as Christian White, Michael Nicoll, Guujaaw, and master artist and hereditary Leader Jim Hart.
As well, accomplished textile artists such as Evelyn Vanderhoop, Gladys Vandal, and master spruce root weaver Isabel Rorick and traditional singers and dancers are going, as are Haida language teachers, medicinal practitioners, food gatherers and curators and cultural interpreters.
The group will demonstrate Haida art in its various mediums, sharing in traditional Haida song and dance, and speaking on topics from art, to language, to politics at various discussions during the forum. As well, a monumental pole by Jim Hart will be raised for the people of Pau!
The Haida are very honoured to participate in this important event. There is great excitement to meet the generous visionaries of Pau, and to meet and share with other cultures from around the world, to share our story, to hear what others have to say. It is the people still connected to the land that first feel the effects of resource mismanagement, but in the end everyone will suffer. There is a hope that this forum will unite indigenous voices with the rest of the world on this urgent matter of sustainable resource management – a matter which basically boils down to respecting the lands and waters we all depend upon for life.

The forum is described by the organizers as follows: “At this point in time when mankind is discovering what the Peoples of the Land have always practiced – the necessity for sustainable development – it is our duty and our privilege to listen to the life lessons they bring, and our joy to share in the rich variety of their cultures. The International Forum of the United Indigenous Peoples is a cultural event aimed at providing a place where the native peoples of the planet can express themselvesÂ…to convey and share their messages, their cultures throughout the worldÂ…” Â…”This event will convey one and the same message from [all indigenous nations], the desire to draw attention and stimulate consciousness across the world regarding the critical state of the earth today, and the imperative need for us all, immediately to remedy it”.