Tuesday, 10 May 2011

U'mista Cultural Centre and the Power of Giving

My Statement in the Legislature on May 3, 2011:

Life is not just about moments that leave you breathless but rather the moments that take your breath away. One of these moments was the opening of the Power of Giving art exchange in Alert Bay, British Columbia. Art is the exchange of ideas and values, exactly what transpired when the 'Namgis First Nation and the people of Dresden, Germany, decided to share their most precious artifacts, when an extremely large museum exchanged their treasures with the U'mista Cultural Centre on Cormorant Island.

When items representing the baroque period in history came to British Columbia and the world's finest mask collection went 11,000 kilometres across the globe to Dresden, Germany, it was a journey of respect for us and for those that come after. "The world cannot be safe for democracy unless it is safe for diversity." These words were spoken by renowned First Nations artist Roy Henry Vickers at the 2011 DIVERSEcity Awards. It was such a pleasure to hear him speak.

We agree that art is about telling stories, about showcasing cultures, and we both know that diversity needs to be celebrated each and every day. I don't believe there's a better example of showcasing cultures today than the exchange entitled Power of Giving.

Special thanks to Dr. Martin Roth, who invited me to participate; Consul General Sitz; and the many wonderful German visitors who have fallen in love with Cormorant Island. You will always be welcome. I would encourage all British Columbians to take in the exhibit on Cormorant Island, which will run through to August 28, 2011.

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