North Battleford Roundtable furthers dialogue
REGINA, September 18, 2009 – Last weekend, from September 11 to 13, the third edition of the Travelling Roundtable of the Francophones and Métis of Western Canada took place in North Battleford. This event – organized by the Institut français and the Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise (ACF), in partnership with the regional Francophone and Métis communities – added to the progress made by previous Roundtables in order to establish better communication and understanding between two groups that have grown apart over the last century.”I’m very happy with the event,” said Gilbert Pelletier, who sat at the Roundtable on behalf of the Métis community and who also participated in last year’s event in Willow Bunch. “I felt that we were accomplishing something, that we are getting closer to our goal of getting the Francophones and the Métis to work together. Things have really progressed since last year’s Roundtable.”
In an atmosphere of shared cultures, complemented by moving and in-depth discussion, the Roundtable brought together about 150 participants. The event was both educational and entertaining, since it featured a variety of presentations, cultural workshops and two evenings of music, dance and Franco-Métis storytelling.
The North Battleford Roundtable was recognized by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.
“The weekend was a great success,” added Ghislain Bellavance, a representative of North Battleford’s Francophone community, who also sat at the Roundtable. “There were some difficult moments, but there was also a sense of healing. I hope that, with the contact we’ve made, we will continue to communicate and truly work together. We plan to meet in the near future to see how we’ll proceed in that regard.”
Peter Dorrington, interim director of the Institut français and member of the Roundtable organizing committee, stressed the importance of this annual initiative. “It is marked by a veritable desire to cooperate. Momentum is building and we now have a critical mass of people from both communities, from across the province, with the same goal,” he said. “We are confident that this core group will work together to advance the dialogue from the regional to the provincial level.”
For more information, please visit: www.uregina.ca/northbattleford09.
Release Date: September 18, 2009
Media Contact: Allan Pulga