A Katzie First Nation artist has been selected as the only person from Canada to share his story at a global forum in Austria.
The Salzburg Global Seminar is an independent, non-profit organization founded in 1947 in order to challenge current and future leaders to shape a better world.
Rain Pierre was invited to speak at the organization’s program called Currents of Change: Redefining Cultural Diplomacy for our Times, which will be held from July 4 to 8. And, he said, he will be the first First Nation person to take part in the program in-person.
Pierre, 32, went from an aspiring civil engineer to becoming an artist. As a First Nation artist, he said he wants his art to create a movement across the country towards reconciliation.
He is also two spirited and in recovery – most recently celebrating two years of sobriety.
In addition to talking about his own life and struggles, he will be talking about the struggles of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
“What truly happened to our people in attempted genocide. I have been making movements for our people. It is time the world hears our truth and what actually happened to our people,” Pierre said.
”I want to inspire others to have their voices heard. I want to inspire more people to be seen. Whether it’s for your culture, mental health, sexual identity, addiction/recovery - I want to be a gateway to help others find their voice and be advocates for what they truly believe in,” he added.
There will be three days of sessions where panels of artists, diplomats, politicians, cultural institutional leaders, academics, social and political scientists, journalists, futurists, and scientists will discuss and debate questions about cultural diplomacy.
The goal of the seminar is to offer a blueprint for what cultural diplomacy could look like in the 21st century.
He said not only is he honoured to be asked to participate, but that he wants to inspire people of all ages to follow their true passions.
“Not only for First Nation people, but everyone. I want to show our people what we are capable of, and hopefully others will follow and realize – we are much bigger than the reserves we have been placed on,” said Pierre.
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