While APRC came to a close earlier today, by no means does that mean the learning and sharing has to end too.
During the closing ceremonies a series of speakers delivered powerful and heartfelt messages to the thousand-plus delegates in attendance and each and every one of them spoke to the importance of continued research and the pro-active sharing of information.
Roland Bellerose, Founder, President and CEO of i-powwow Enterprises Ltd., shared his vision of Canada in the year 2018 and it includes his latest venture, i-POWPOW.com.
The long-time publisher of Aboriginal Times Business Magazine plans to launch his new website, which in his words, will be a meeting place where “our elders, our children, our leaders, our business community, our government and our students can access Aboriginal any time, any where.”
“Imagine such a meeting place, where we could share our stories and our teachings, observe our histories and traditions and our languages. Imagine that we had a platform where we could find a way to exercise our current rights and implement effective governance that would allow us to diversify our communities and work in harmony.”
This is i-POWWOW.com.
By the response of the audience, Mr. Bellerose may be on to something. And I wish him, well.
Manny Jules, Chairman of the First Nations Tax Commission and Mark Dockstander, Chair of the recently launched First Nations Statistical Institute echoed the words of Bellerose with both highly-respected men calling for continued research, continued knowledge sharing and most importantly, continued passion.
Making those three things a reality is what APRC is all about.
And Jerry White promised that what is already “the largest Aboriginal policy research conference in the world” will be even bigger, on a global scale, in 2012.
Already boasting representatives from Canada, United States, Russia, Czech Republic, Norway, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Taiwan, the next APRC is looking to make 2012 ‘a world conference’ with approx. 30 to 40 per cent of the attendees made up of international delegates.
Before welcoming Dan and Mary Lou Smoke, the spiritual leaders of APRC, the conference co-organizer said, “Thanks to all of you for bringing your ideas, your controversies and your energies to this conference.”
And while the Smoke’s captivated the audience with songs and words the way only the Smokes can, with this academic set, perhaps the strongest message was delivered by Dan BEFORE his closing prayer.
“I’d love to see a first-year course at every Canadian university and college that every student had to take: First Nations Studies 101.”
Cue the applause.
And as the near-hypnotic Ahkwesasne Women Singers lift our spirits away from the traditional lands belonging to the peoples of the Ottawa Algonquin Nation, I say my good-bye.