The Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre (VDFNC) received a special mention from the jury of the Prix Droits et Libertés (Rights and Freedoms Prize) 2010, awarded by Quebec’s Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission) on November 25. The VDFNC garnered the special mention from the commission in recognition of its work to combat racism, which is also the theme of this year’s honours.

A delegation from Val-d’Or, that included VDFNC President Oscar Kistabish, Board Member Tina Mapachee and Executive Director Édith Cloutier, travelled to Montreal for a special ceremony to honour their efforts in terms of quashing racism in Val-d’Or. During it, the jury highlighted the VDFNC’s efforts, particularly its originality in terms of awareness campaigns to fight racism and activities, such as the signing of the “Friendship Declaration between Peoples” in Val-d’Or and the city’s annual Gabriel-Commanda Walk against racism.

At the ceremony, Cloutier said, “These events involve a great amount of citizen participation and in Val-d’Or, this entire process was made possible by openness and mobilization. The face of our city is changing and each citizen, Native or non-Native, contributes to establishing the means of a harmonious transition. The challenge of co-habitation is now being met.”