Release Date: October 17, 2005
Media Contact: Jim Duggleby, External Relations
Phone: (306) 585.5439
Mobile: (306) 536.4312
Fax: (306) 585.4997
A Historic Rapprochement Between the Métis and Francophones of Western Canada at the Institut français, University of Regina. October 20 to 23, 2005
More than 100 francophone and Métis community participants, 40 artists and 40 academics gather to build bridges between two founding peoples of Canada.

Francophone and Métis evening of cultural performance, including John Arcand, Maria Campbell, Roger Dallaire and Gilles Groleau and open to public. 

Keynote addresses by:
Dr. Paul Chartrand, former Commissioner of the Canadian Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples; 

Dr. Herménégilde Chiasson, pioneer of Acadian cultural renewal;

Dr. Charles Willie, Harvard University sociologist and minority relations expert.

Métis and francophones will open an unprecedented dialogue at Resistance and Convergence: Francophone and Métis Strategies of Identity in Western Canada, an innovative intercultural and international conference that will be held October 20 to 23 at the Institut français on the campus of the University of Regina. This community, cultural and academic initiative represents a turning point in francophone-Métis relations. It is the first time that these two founding peoples, supported by their artists and academic specialists, have met regionally to share their respective challenges and strategies for cultural affirmation.

Organized by the Centre canadien de recherche sur les francophonies en milieu minoritaire of the Institut français, in partnership with the Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise and with the active cooperation of the Gabriel Dumont Institute, the conference marks the first time that francophone and Métis post-secondary and community institutions have undertaken a joint initiative in Saskatchewan.

Mr. Dominique Sarny, Director of the Institut français and conference co-organizer says that the event is "the first opportunity for a dialogue between Métis and francophones where artistic exchange and intellectual debate are used to facilitate understanding at the grass-roots level".

The presentations of over 40 specialists from across Canada, the United States and Europe, and more than 40 celebrated francophone and Métis artists such as fiddler John Arcand and storytellers Roger Dallaire and Maria Campbell, will therefore contribute to the success of the first-ever, facilitated community roundtable exchanges in French, English and Michif (a hybrid language of Cree and French). These roundtable discussions will unite over 100 francophones and Métis from across the Prairies in constructive dialogue.

Métis and francophone artists will also mount a first-of-its-kind evening of joint cultural performance at Darke Hall (corner of College Avenue and Scarth Street, Regina) on Friday, October 21, at 8:30pm. This production is open to the general public and is free of charge.

The conference will feature keynote addresses by Paul Chartrand, former Commissioner of the Canadian Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples; Herménégilde Chiasson, Acadian multi-disciplinary artist, writer and Governor General literary prize winner; and sociologist Charles Willie, Harvard University's esteemed minority relations expert.

The Institut français and its partners envisage the conference as a kick-off initiative in their long-term program for promoting research, discovery and understanding between francophones and other peoples and groups in western Canada. The conference is therefore a prototype for holistic exchange, designed to encourage ongoing, constructive dialogue between francophones and the Métis and, subsequently, between francophones and the various other minorities that, together, constitute a significant portion of western Canadian society.

This initiative also serves as the Institut français' contribution to the conference series of the Centre d'études franco-canadiennes de l'Ouest (Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface).

The "Resistance and Convergence" conference is free of charge and open to all, but pre-registration is recommended to guarantee participation. Please call (306)337-2357 for more information.

The Institut français was founded in 2003 by the University of Regina to respond to the post-secondary education needs of the Fransaskois and other French speakers of Saskatchewan.

To read this release in French, please click here.