January 07, 2010

Protesting poverty at 2010 Olympics

Natives vow to press poverty issues at Olympics

By Mark HumeThe federal and British Columbia governments have been warned that the Olympic Games will be used as an international stage to highlight native poverty unless funding is provided for economic development in aboriginal communities.

Squamish Chief Bill Williams, chair of the Four Host First Nations, which until now has shown a unified front in working to promote the Olympics, issued that caution in an interview yesterday. Leonard Thomas, president of the BC First Nations Forestry Council, said the same thing in letters to government officials.

"The time for plain talking is now upon us. Our forest-dependent first nations communities are no longer willing to quietly sit back and wait for actions that never come," Mr. Thomas said in a letter to B.C. Forests Minister Pat Bell.

"The fact that your government and its federal partner are spending $3-billion to stage the Winter Olympics is merely exacerbating the frustration and anger felt by our communities as they continue to be told that there is no money in the pot to address their situations, which, as you are fully aware, are of a most desperate nature."

Mr. Thomas asked for an urgent meeting to resolve the issue, and said if steps aren't taken, "the FNFC and its member first nations will reluctantly, but without hesitation, take advantage of the intense international media interest that will be focused on B.C. before and during the Winter Olympics."
Comment:  I don't know if the four host nations promised not to protest, or acted as if they wouldn't protest. But protesting at the last moment, a month before the Olympics, is probably a smart move from their perspective.

For more on the subject, see Protests Planned Against Torch Relay and Native Leaders, Youth Target Olympics.

Below:  Squamish Chief Bill Williams, I presume.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.