Native Village
Youth and Education news
January 2010 Volume 4

Olympic mascots 2010 : how many Aboriginal symbols and people are used in these Games ??
by Laura Robinson]
Condensed by Native Village

British Columbia: In 2010, the world will focus on Vancouver and Whistler for the Winter Olympic Games.

The Games are being held on the traditional and shared traditional lands of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Lil'wat people  Along with the sporting events, the Four Host First Nations plan to showcase their  cultures as a vibrant and integral part of Canada's heritage.

organizers say that Aboriginal participation is unprecedented. However:

Tewanee Joseph, CEO of Four Host First Nations, can’t name one Aboriginal athlete on Canada's winter or summer Olympic teams. Canada is sending 200 athletes to the games.

    VANOC (Vancouver Olympic Committee) asked Vancouver to stop an annual Feb. 14 women’s march to remember the city's missing and murdered women and  aise awareness of violence against Aboriginal women. VANOC said the march would cause traffic jams.
Vancouver disallowed the injunction and the march will procee

  Cowichan First Nation knitters offered to supply their famous and beautiful hand-knit sweaters as an official sweater for the Games. VANOC turned them down. However, VANOC approved $350 sweaters from The Bay, an official Olympic sponsor. The Bay's sweaters copied traditional Cowichan designs.  The Cowichan Nation took VANOC to task and settled, but the income for tribal knitters was greatly reduced.

  Premier Gordon Campbell twice asked the Mi’kmaw Children’s Se’t A’newey Performance Choir to sing at the opening ceremonies. This fall VANOC told them they were not on the program. The Choir was told they could sing at the Aboriginal Pavilion at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. But the Aboriginal Pavilion is not in the theatre -- it is a temporary tent in the theatre’s parking lot.  The choir proudly replied that they weren’t interested in playing second fiddle.”

Youth attending the Olympic Indigenous Youth Gathering from Jan. 30-Feb. 14 were asked on the VANOC website if they wanted to be part of the Olympics. If interested, they had to
Send a photo of themselves in regalia and not 21st century clothes;
Be able to dance, drum, take instruction and perform;
Volunteer for all performances;
Return home if they talk to the media about any problems.
After all this, youth will be sent home the day after
Olympic competition begins on Feb. 13.

Native youth must relinquish rights to their own images or creative work.  They will not receive any revenue proceeds from any photographs taken of them.
Native youth whose images, artwork, or written works  appear in the official Olympic books will not receive profits from book sales.

If youth create a song, dance or piece of visual art while at the Youth Gathering, VANOC holds 100% of the rights to all of these creations -- forever-- and doesn't have to pay a penny. 

"Authentic Aboriginal Designs” on t-shirts, scarves, toques, vests and other memorabilia are made in China, Bangladesh, Haiti, Hondouras, and India. Aboriginal artists who wanted their work considered had to give VANOC permission to change their work if it wished to.

 And the Games have not yet begun ...

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