A Katzie First Nation artist has be invited to speak on his experience growing up Indigenous in Canada at a global conference being held in England.
Rain Pierre is the only representative from North America who will be sharing his story in person at the International Resilience Revolution Conference 2022 being held at the Winter Gardens Conference and Exhibition Centre in Blackpool.
A central theme of the conference is resilience – academics and community-based researchers and practitioners are expected to give talks on topics like: how local community groups or collectives have reclaimed resilience-based approaches and made them relevant to their communities; cultural and cross-cultural aspects of resilience; new theoretical ideas on resilience, and putting revolutionary resilience ideas into practice in a school setting – among other topics.
Pierre is looking forward his story and his perspective about the Indigenous experience in this country.
“I want to share my truth, our truth of what really happened to our people and what is still happening today. I feel the world has a very watered down version of our story which is far from the truth. Even here in Canada our story has yet to surface on so many levels,” said Pierre, who first learned about the conference through his cousin Len Pierre and Jordan White who asked if he would take part virtually with them on March 31.
However, when Pierre found out more details about the event, he asked organizers if he could take part in person, and they made room for him on March 30, coincidentally Pierre’s birthday, so he could talk in-person at the event.
Pierre is planning to share stories of his upbringing on Barnston Island, where he grew up with is four older brothers on the reserve.
“We grew up poor financially but rich with love and teachings,” explained Pierre, adding that he also grew up listening to his father’s story of his residential school experiences. He said he was so hurt and moved about what had happened to his parents and relatives in the residential school system that it gave him the inspiration and purpose in this world – to tell their stories.
“I’ve always wanted to show the world who we truly are. Caring. Respectful. Honest. And most importantly loving,” said Pierre.
“Everything I do is for my parents and my aunties and uncles. Our lineage and ancestors have went through so much for me to even exist. I feel like life is precious. I wanted to make a name for myself to show the world it was a mistake to try and wipe us out,” he added.
Pierre will also be sharing how he became a successful artist after stumbling upon a spray painting video online in 2016. A video that changed the course of his life. He had found his calling, he said, noting that he broke into tears after finishing his first painting.
He immediately quit his job working building bridges and highways in the province, and now he runs his own company called RainAwakens and has three people who work as part of his team. He also works in school districts and communities across the country, using his artwork as part of the reconciliation movement, to inspire students to follow their dreams, and to share the Indigenous peoples’ resilience.
“Together we create projects and do reconciliation in our own way. We create murals with students, called Legacy projects. It’s our way of working together with youth to make the world a better place,” he elaborated.
Pierre will be taking off for the United Kingdom on March 27, and he can’t wait to speak on a global platform, not only to show, “that our people are still here,” he said.
But that they are thriving.
International Resilience Revolution Conference 2022 runs March 30 and 31.
For more information go to blogs.brighton.ac.uk/rr2020/.
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