Mélanie Vincent, executive director, announced the program for the 5th edition of the festival Kwe! Meet with Indigenous Peoples during a virtual press conference. (Screenshot by Myriam Labbé)

Kwe! festival puts Indigenous languages in the spotlight

Myriam Labbe

On April 21, the Kwe! Meet with Indigenous Peoples festival announced the program for its fifth edition which will be held from June 17 to 21 at ExpoCité’s Place Jean-Béliveau, next to the Grand Marché.

To celebrate the start of UNESCO’s International Decade of Indigenous Languages, the festival will put Indigenous languages in the spotlight. Along with participating in scheduled activities, participants will be encouraged to look for signs around the area with common greetings in the languages of all the 11 Nations of Quebec.

Roda Muse, secretary-general of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, praised Kwe! for this event which encourages reconciliation and revitalization of Indigenous culture. “Language is a human right! UNESCO recognizes the immensity of Indigenous knowledge and the importance of Indigenous languages in its transmission and sharing.”

Dr. Stanley Vollant, spokesperson for the event since its first edition, emphasized the meaning of the greeting “Kwe” common to a few Nations. “To say ‘Kwe’ is to hold out one’s hand and to bridge the gap in between; by coming to Kwe! citizens of Quebec can take a step towards reconciliation with First Nations.” Vollant also encouraged people of all ages to participate in the Puamun Meshkenu (the thousand dreams path in Innu), a five-kilometre route around Quebec City where people walk together and learn from each other.

Due to their immense success during the previous editions, the crafting and culinary activities will be back with take-home boxes to allow off-site celebrations. The popular Espaces dialogues, where participants can learn more about Indigenous cultures and break myths and false beliefs, will also be back. June 21, in particular, will be an important date. For National Indigenous Peoples Day, Kwe! has scheduled a concert with
Florent Vollant.

Ian Lafrenière, minister responsible for Indigenous affairs, announced a new immersive exhibit this year to explore six examples of traditional Indigenous architecture. The exhibit will also be available online.

Innu film director and radio host Melissa Mollen Dupuis was proud to announce CBC’s support in this edition of the festival. She invited Quebecers to join in the festival and to “create events that will not only represent Indigenous communities but the Quebec community in all its diversity.” The Kwe! festival is a great opportunity to bridge gaps and learn about people’s identities in an educational and playful event.

The complete program can be found at kwefest.com.

Kwe! festival puts Indigenous languages in the spotlight was last modified: May 3rd, 2022 by QCT Editor

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