The great Museum of the American Indian has recently opened in Washington and very soon the Abenakis Museum will be opening in Odanak. One might think there is no possible comparison between the huge scope of the former and the modest modernisation and expansion of the former Odanak convent that became a museum in 1962.

After 15 years organising the First Peoples' Festival, we know something is rumbling in the depths of the continent. We sense the ongoing affirmation of the American cultures from time immemorial as part of a historic current changing scenes and spirits. Washington and Odanak are the outcome of slow, subterranean changes nurtured by the hands of anonymous volunteers who passed forgotten knowledge along. With the force of the undercurrent, suddenly overcoming prejudices, rewriting history, restoring those seen as defeated and desperate to their rightful place among the peoples of the Earth and their dignity as bearers of authentic, irreplaceable human traditions. First Peoples' Festival is itself a product of such times. We can say without false modesty that its development is part of this welcome trend. Seize the time to salute the many government and civil society partners willing to embark on this journey for a new history along with us.

Montreal, Quebec and the Americas have lived through exalting years in terms of progress among the peoples who represented our continent's first cultural diversity. Our 2005 roster will be our way of carrying the flame and offering a hand in friendship to the many people who long for a peaceful, generous, constructive, multicultural and egalitarian future.

Now that we have reached 15, we dare dream and imagine the future.