February 20, 2010

B.C. Natives cursed Norwegian athletes?

B.C. chiefs deny cursing Norwegian Olympic team

Shaman blames lacklustre results on natives angry over Norway-owned fish farmsA shaman in Norway has suggested aboriginal people in B.C. might have cursed the Nordic country's Olympic athletes because of their opposition to Norwegian-owned fish farming operations in B.C., but West Coast native leaders deny any mystic influence.

Norway is traditionally a powerhouse in the Winter Olympics, having placed first overall in Salt Lake City in 2002 with 13 gold medals.

But when Norway's early results in the Vancouver Games were not as good as expected, the Norwegian broadcaster NRK sought out a Sami shaman—or indigenous spiritualist—who speculated his counterparts in B.C. might be the cause.

Eirik Boie Myrhaug is quoted as saying that Indian magic might be behind Norway's Olympic setbacks. He suggests some B.C. chiefs might have cast an evil spell on the Norwegian athletes.
One chief denies the allegation:"I can honestly report that I do not possess this kind of spiritual power he's suggesting that I do," Chamberlin said.

"If I did possess such a power, I don't think I would be directing it at the Norwegian national sportsmen. I think I would direct it towards the fish farms."
Comment:  Play fair, First Nations. Don't use your mystical powers to win the Olympics for Canada. <g>

I dunno, Chief Chamberlin. A sneaky Native sorcerer might realize it's too obvious to attack the fish farm directly. Better to attack a symbol of Norwegian pride like the Olympics team. Presumably that would teach the Norwegians to be more humble and listen to the hunger strikers opposing the farm.

Wasn't that the thinking behind the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, which had no strategic value but symbolized American might? Same with the Norwegian Olympics team.

Ahem. This item goes into the Stereotype of the Month contest for the claims that 1) Indians have mystical powers and 2) Indians would try to hurt people in underhanded ways.

It's kind of funny to hear an indigenous Norwegian shaman accuse his indigenous Canadian counterparts of black magic. Is he implying that he also casts spells on people when they don't cooperate? Or is he foolishly stereotyping Indians and thereby stereotyping himself?

For more on Indian curses, see Indian Curse in Saturday Night Live and Medicine Man Ends Talladega Curse. For more on the subject in general, see Magical Negroes and Indians.

Below:  "Team Canada defenceman Dan Boyle (22) fends off Norwegian forward Per-Age Skroder in the teams' Olympic opener on Tuesday. Team Canada defenceman Dan Boyle (22) fends off Norwegian forward Per-Age Skroder in the teams' Olympic opener on Tuesday." (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)


Andrea Thomson said...

interesting article... just a note from a local "canuck" that we prefer to regard this group of people as our First Nations (rather than aboriginals, indigenous, or indian).

Rob said...

I know Canadians prefer the phrase "First Nations people" to the word "Indians," Andrea. That's why I used "First Nations" in my first comment.

But you must know Americans overwhelmingly prefer "Indians" to any other term. Since I'm American and I was generalizing about the shaman's claims, "Indians" was the appropriate choice.