NYU welcomes the following delegation from Wapikoni Mobile:
Odile Joannette | Executive Director | Innu
Odile Joannette has been an advocate for Indigenous rights for close to 20 years, striving to improve the quality of life of Aboriginal people. She serves on the Order of Montreal’s Board and has been handpicked to be one of 15 members of Montreal’s Table on Diversity, Inclusion and the Fight Against Discrimination. She is a founding member and administrator of both DestiNATIONS: Carrefour International of Indigenous Arts and Cultures, and the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy NETWORK. She joined the Board of Directors of the Montreal Native Health Center project. She had been Director of Partnerships and Communications for the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador’s Commission for Human Resources Development, Employment and Training since 2014. On April 2018, she was appointed Executive Director of the Wapikoni mobile, a travelling audiovisual and musical creation studio dedicated to Indigenous youth.
Odile Eda Pierre | Research and International Development Officer
Odile Eda-Pierre has been working extensively in international development for more than 10 years in various cultural organizations in France (Paris) and Canada (Quebec). Her love of the arts drive her to make connections, develop and foster relationships between artists and organizations in order to bring greater awareness to their work. She is keen to strengthen links and stimulate exchanges and collaborations that will help bridge the gap between peoples and cultures. Odile recently worked for four years on the international development of an African diaspora dance project, web series and documentary exploring culture, history and diaspora linkages (BOW’T TRAIL by choreographer-dancer Rhodnie Desir). She was responsible for the promotion and implementation of the project in Martinique, Haiti, Mexico (Veracruz), the Canadian Maritimes and in the United States (New Orleans). The project won a UNESCO slave route award, recognizing its importance highlighting the cultural connections among African diaspora communities in the wake of the Atlantic slave trade. She has now been working for more than two years at Wapikoni Mobile, an indigenous organization that gives training and creation workshops to indigenous youth and vulnerable communities. In her role as International development officer, she is active in promoting and implementing the adaptation of the digital storytelling training methodology “learning by doing” to indigenous peoples and marginalized populations outside Canada. Her work involves conducting outreach and coordinating digital storytelling workshops across frontiers, which enable indigenous youth to affirm their narrative sovereignty through their films, develop expression, empowerment, and leadership skills.
Uapukun Mestokosho | Filmmaker | Innu
Uapukun means “flower” in Innu. She grew up in Ekuanitshit on the North Coast. She completed a programme of humanities at the Kiuna institution, with a major in Aboriginal studies. At the center of her involvement in her community, is her pride and passion about her culture. She wishes to transmit and share her experience and her outdoor’s adventures to all interested.
Ariel Waskewitch | Dancer, Singer, Artist, Filmmaker | Iyarhe Nakoda, Stoney
Traditionally from the Bighorn reservation, a part of the Stoney Nakoda Nation, Ariel dedicates her time to creating art, primarily bead work, and shares her talents with indigenous and non-indigenous youth. Ariel is known for her Women’s Traditional Dancing, and was a Jr Princess for the Stoney Nakodas Golden Leaf Classic Powwow, and continues to make her mark on the Powwow trail. Ariel was a part of the Youth Delegation from the Stoney Nakoda Nation that attended the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City where she was able to perform the Women’s Traditional dance at the Canadian Permanent Mission to the UN and again in Minnesota a part of the World Indigenous Peoples Decade of Water Summit. Ariel also loves to play baseball, volleyball and singing the night away at round dances. In 2018, she went to Baja, Mexico, with the Canmore Rotary Club amd YWAM (Youth With A Mission) to build Homes of Hope for families living in poverty. She also participated in the Global Young Diplomats Forum in London, UK.
Olivia Thomassie | Filmmaker
Olivia Lya Thomassie was born in Kuujjuaq and lives between Montreal and Kangirsuk, Nunavik. She is passionate about fashion. In her first involvement as a director with Wapikoni Mobile, Olivia wanted to show how Inuit winter clothes are fashionable. She has been involved with Wapikoni for Native Montreal youth campaign against discrimination and has worked as a local coordinator for Montreal and Kangirsuk workshops .
Ashton Janvier | Filmmaker | Denesuline
Born on May 12, 1992, Ashton is a young Denesuline from the community of La Loche. He attends University through a program at the Clearwater River Dene Nation School on the reserve. This is his first involvement with Wapikoni; he was the director of his first short film for creating awareness on the Patterson Lake uranium mining. He is passionate about Indigenous education, preservation of culture and language, as well as filming and acting. After he completes his teaching degree, he wants to teach in his community and educate his fellow Denesuline on indigenous studies
Gaëlle Mollen | Filmmaker | Innu
Gaëlle Mollen is both Innu from Ekuanitshit and Chadian. She holds a degree in Social Sciences with a major in Anthropology and a minor in indigenous studies from the University of Ottawa. She is currently a candidate to study a Master degree in Anthropology. Her research interests focus on indigenous identity, transmission, traditional knowledge and preservation of Innu language and tradition. She currently works as a coordinator of internship Programes for indigenous peoples at the Canadian Museum of History since November. Her role consists in assisting First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples of Canada to develop their professional museum-related related skills and techniques.