02 Jul INTRODUCTION | How everything started
Open my eyes.
It took me almost 4 years to dream about and finally give life to Native Immersion.
Like every long term project, this one needed a real gestation.
Share my trips, human experiences and encounters with First Nations of this world, was promising thrilling adventures.
Though, trying to answer this essential and over-asked question was extremely difficult to me : “Why them?”
Since I was 10 or 11 things set up slowly. I can only remember my deep attraction towards wolves, who led me to its human counterpart : indigenous people. As every European captivated by this culture, I went through my fantastical period of time. Then, at 15 years old, I started to use the Internet and with it, build long term friendships with native people, a young northern Ontario Cree and a cowboy from Dakota. In a very natural way, we shared long emails, in which they told their everyday life on a reserve. They were my first guides in the universe and reality of first people.
10 years later, we are in 2010.
I decide to carry on my initiation and leave for a real immersion. Go there, meet the people, share, I don’t really know what, since I just had myself to offer. Try to answer this inner feeling, so strong, this visceral need of being with them. Walk in their footsteps. Ask questions. Live it from within. Simply learn.
Often, people ask me how I succeeded in meeting them, seem so extraordinary to them. My answer is simple : I bought an airplane ticket and I went there. As simple as that. Really. Native people’s hospitality for welcoming travelers made up for the rest. Since the one who has come for listening, learning and share brotherhood moments will always be warmly welcome.
I jumped into the space. I left with my camera, sure to collect numerous pictures of my encounters, looking like a colorful patchwork. The reality was different : out of this trip, I just brought back a few images. I was far from picturing what would happen. I went through such a deep emotional, almost identity shake up, that photography was not the reason of my experience anymore.I thought I left to witness, instead I went to change. Change my way to see the world, but above all myself, through all these faces I considered as my family. It took me 3 days only to fall in love with the Atikamekw in Manawan – Quebec, and the Dineh – Navajo nation in Pinon, Arizona. Each single step on this red ground was a true electric shock in my entire body.
This is how this love story has begun.
From this experience, that changed me forever, I keep a lot of faces in my memory, and video testimonies, hidden in a secret box, and not revealed to the world for now.
“Everything comes at the right time”.
This is the very first wise teaching I have learned from First Nations. A simple one, that took me years to apply. As occidentals, we are so stressed and messed up with the timing!
4 years and Native Immersion came to life. A day of summer in Manawan.
4 years of discovering, touching, tasting, learning and acquiring. And understanding. Understanding a mentality, a heritage, a story, but not found in books. A story told by real people, laughing and handing you a plate of moose meat.
Live an immersion in an aboriginal territory is a deep and intense experience, teaching a lot about yourself and others. Today, I assemble a puzzle of years of introspection, lived among my adoptive family.
I hope that the disclosed pictures in my diaries will help you feel a part of my story…and maybe encourage you to go and meet some of the hidden human treasures you can find on our planet.