February 01, 2008

"No Olympics on Stolen Land"

Native youth protest 2010 Olympics

Activists embark on speaking tour to denounce impact of Vancouver GamesWith the 2010 Vancouver Olympics rapidly approaching, indigenous groups in Canada are protesting that the events--to be held on unceded Salish, St’at’imc, and Squamish territory--will wreak environmental and social destruction.

Activists Kanahus Pelkey and Dustin Johnson have embarked on a three-week speaking tour across the East Coast and Great Lakes entitled “No Olympics on Stolen Land” to illuminate the threat. The two visit Montreal’s Native Friendship Centre tonight.

“By having the Olympics [outside Vancouver], it opens our land, our sacred sites, our medicine grounds,” Pelkey said.
More specifically:Sun Peaks Ski Resort recently completed a $284-million expansion project that, according to Pelkey, has destroyed land off of which many indigenous people live.

“Sun Peaks Resort has violated our basic human rights, and there have been more than 70 arrests of native people who want to prevent the expansion or take back the land,” Pelkey said.

Johnson claimed that the impending games have created infrastructure that is ripe for corporate expansion into traditional land.

“There is an infrastructure being created for 2010 that will result in the further destruction of mountains and valleys that are traditionally Salish, St’at’imc, and Squamish territory. They are creating infrastructure to attract corporate businesses and large real estate operations,” Johnson said.
Who's in charge:The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (VANOC)’s closest partner in this effort is the Four Host First Nations, a group of local chiefs, but Angela Sterrit, a member of the International Indigenous Youth Network, said the Four Host First Nations were not representative of indigenous people in the region.

“These sell-out chiefs are in it for the money, not for the people,” Sterrit said.

“There is a big difference between political consent and ceremonial blessings.”

No comments: