January 15, 2009

Olympics to benefit host First Nations

Northwest Nations gear up for the Olympics

2010 Games in Vancouver could bolster indigenous economiesThe 2010 Winter Olympics will turn the international spotlight on the Pacific Northwest. And numerous indigenous nations are taking advantage of the opportunity to showcase the region’s rich culture and heritage, as well as bolster economies.

The Winter Olympics will be held Feb. 12-28, 2010; the Paralympic Games follow on March 12-21. An estimated 250,000 people are expected to visit the region; the games will employ 5,000 and require 25,000 volunteers. About 1.8 million event tickets are expected to be sold. Some 10,000 media representatives will report on and televise the games to readers and viewers throughout the world.

The Olympic venues are in the territories of the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh. There could be potential cultural and economic impact to those nations, which formed the Four Host First Nations Society to coordinate aboriginal involvement in the games.

The Four Host First Nations negotiated an agreement with the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee for the integration of aboriginal graphics into Vancouver 2010-branded merchandise and the licensing and marketing of authentic aboriginal art and products, a series of products featuring the Four Host First Nations logo and other products featuring aboriginal themes and icons, such as drums, canoes and paddles.

The government of Nunavut is the first aboriginal partner in the program; more than 1,200 Inuit artists will carve inuksuit in one of 11 distinct community styles or forms for the Olympics. Inuksuit is plural for inukshuk, a guidepost made of rock stacked in human form on the vast expanse of the Arctic. The inukshuk has been adopted as the emblem of the 2010 games.

The licensing and merchandising agreement, reportedly the first of its kind in Olympic history, will result in one-third of the Vancouver Organizing Committee’s royalties from sales of these products being contributed to a fund supporting cultural, education and sport initiatives for First Nation, Inuit and M├ętis children across Canada.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Olympics Resistance Network and Aboriginals Argue Over Olympics.

No comments: