February 21, 2010

Native buzz at 2010 Olympics

Olympic tourists descend on native sites

Amazing response to arts, crafts

By Suzanne Fournier
Sales are brisk at these Olympic Games for all things First Nations: cedar carvings, Salish weaving, Kwakwaka'wakw silver and masks, drums and high-end Haida clothing.

With the Four Host First Nations as the first-ever indigenous Olympics co-hosts, intense promotion by Aboriginal Tourism B.C. and strong native themes at almost all Games events, "there is a real buzz in the air," said Sophie Pierre, chair of Aboriginal Tourism B.C.

"Without a doubt, there has been so much interest generated at these Games in aboriginal culture and tourism, we expect very significant economic spinoffs," said Pierre.

"We have members in every corner of the province, so this will benefit all First Nations over the long term," said Pierre.
Comment:  For perhaps the millionth time, we see the popular culture's power to inform people about Indians. Pop culture can do it the right way, as with the Olympics. Or the wrong way, as with Indian mascots, Indian monuments, and Indiana Jones-style movies.

For more on the subject, see Pix of 2010 Olympics Opening Ceremony and Host First Nations Welcome Guests.

Below:  "Christine Hunt holds a candle holder made by her sister Corrine Hunt at an Aboriginal art show at Vancouver Community College, Corrine Hunt designed the Olympic gold medals for the 2010 Winter Games." (Jon Murray, Canwest News Service)

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