Wednesday, October 08, 2008

No Olympics on Stolen Land -- Sudbury Event

This Saturday, a cross-country tour promoting the 2010 Vancouver Olympics is stopping in Sudbury. This tour is one small part of the ongoing state- and corporate-funded disinformation campaign that allows the oppressive monstrosity that the games have become to be sold to unsuspecting publics as being only about the sport and fun we see on TV, while the behind-the-scenes land theft, gentrification, poor-bashing, racial profiling, cultural appropriation, criminalization of poverty, cutting of services, privatization, and corporate greed are kept carefully hidden. In response, people in Sudbury are organizing a media conference on Thursday and an educational event on Saturday in support of the grassroots groups in Vancouver that oppose the Olympics, and will be working to encourage Sudbury residents to join the growing number of people across the country that are raising their voices to say: "No Olympics on Stolen Land!"

Here is a media release that, I think, went out today...and also see below for a statement released by the Native Youth Movement of the St’at’imc Nation regarding this issue:

Media Advisory - For Immediate Release - Oct. 8, 2008
Media contact - Gary Kinsman at 523-2205 or try 688-6224 (no messages).

Sudbury No Olympics on Stolen Land Educational Protest This Saturday
Media conference - Thursday, Oct. 9, 10am sharp, outside the north end (Elm Street side) entrance to Market Square.

This Saturday, Oct. 11th, the Canadian Pacific Olympic Games promotional “Spirit” Train will be in Sudbury. As Clarissa Lassaline of Sudbury Against War and Occupation (SAWO) puts it: “The 2010 Olympics are taking place on unceded indigenous land. Indigenous people of the unceded Coast Salish territories have asked people in Sudbury to educate ourselves and to protest the Olympic “Spirit” train. While we are supportive of the athletes and performers who will be here on Saturday the 2010 Winter Olympics are taking place on stolen land and the organizing around them in the Vancouver area has seen major displays of corporate greed, the displacement of homeless and poor people and further assaults on the land rights of indigenous people.” This Thursday at 10am SAWO is holding a media conference to talk about why we are organizing the No Olympics on Stolen Land educational protest to be held this Saturday and to hear First nations elder, Barb Riley (non-colonized name Waubauno Kwe, professor emeritus Laurentian University Native Human Services) speak about the problems of holding the Olympics on Stolen Land and the dangers of the misuse of indigenous cultures and spirituality by the Olympic organizing committee.

The Saturday No Olympics on Stolen Land educational protest initiited by SAWO but involving other groups in the community will be opened by First Nations elder Winnie Pitawanakwet. It will include speakers, performers and music. It will start at 1pm at the north end of Market Square.

The organizing for the 2010 Winter Olympics has already led to:

- the expansion of sport tourism and resource extraction on indigenous lands. There are over $5 billion worth of new resort and resort expansion plans around BC since the Olympic bid was granted. At Sun Peaks Resort alone, there have been over 50 arrests of indigenous people who have been opposing the $295 million expansion of the resort on their traditional territories. Elders and single mothers have been arrested, while Sun Peaks continues its expansion, destroying vital mountain ecosystems, and over-consuming water to produce artificial snow.

- increasing homelessness and the gentrification of poor neighbourhoods especially in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It is projected that the number of homeless in Vancouver will triple from 1000 homeless people in 2003 to over 3200 people by 2010. At present, over 1200 low income housing units have been lost in the Downtown Eastside alone since the Olympic bid in 2003. Meanwhile, real estate speculation and gentrification has led to a projected 1500 new market housing units, primarily condominiums for the wealthy, being built in the Downtown Eastside. The Vancouver Olympics Organizing Committee has set aside $500,000 for an emergency homelessness shelter "warehouse" that will only be open during the Games.

- more privatization of public services

- union busting through imposed contracts and vulnerable working conditions especially for migrant labour. There are an estimated 3,000-5,000 temporary migrant and undocumented workers in the Olympics-fueled and speculation driven construction industry. These workers are extremely vulnerable to exploitation, often get paid less than minimum wage, and are always living under the threat of deportation.

- increased funding for the police, military and border control agents in the name of so-called national security. The 2010 Olympics security & policing budget is still climbing & currently estimated at $200 million. Sociologist David Lyon of Queen's University, has dubbed Vancouver 2010 "the Surveillance Games" since security operations will include over 13,000 RCMP, military & other security personnel as well as joint US-Canada military & North American Aerospace Defence Command operations.

- ballooning public spending and public debt. The overall cost of the 2010 Games are currently budgeted at $6 billion. This budget is likely a gross underestimate as all the costs from facilities to policing keep going "over-budget". Costs for the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre alone have skyrocketed to almost $900 million.

- unprecedented destruction of the environment. The corporate sponsors of the Olympic Games have some of the worst environmental and social practices on record. Petro-Canada is one of the most environmentally destructive of oil and gas companies; Hudson Bay Company has been responsible for the colonization of Indigenous land, Canadian Pacific played a central role in the colonization of Indigenous Land, General Electric is one of the world’s top three producers of military aircraft engines and a major producer of nuclear power plants, and Dow Chemical is the world’s second largest chemical manufacturer & cause of the Bhopal gas disaster in India. There is more background information attached.

For more information contact Gary Kinsman at 523-2205, 688-6224 (no messages) or at


Statimc Native Youth Movement International Statement: No 2010 Olympics on Native Land!
Statimc Native Youth Movement Warrior Society
St’at’imc Nation, Tsalalh Territory

To Whom It May Concern:

Please accept this letter as a declaration of opposition to the upcoming Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Winter Olympics set to take place within traditional St’at’imc Borders. Many members of our Nation, including children, youth, elders and land users do not support the Olympics taking place in Whistler for many reasons.

First being that Whistler and many other towns, cities and municipalities are illegally occupied by foreigners and run by fraudulent government systems that oppress the original inhabitants, the St’at’imc People. These government systems are built to hold lands illegally and destroy entire ecosystems in order to gain profit for the already wealthy corporations.

In turn, the St’at’imc People are pushed aside while traditional hunting and fishing grounds; once used freely at will, then become Privatized, and/or “Crown Land.” Our people depend on migration of animals for basic survival and the teachings we pass onto our next generations. The people visiting our territory are tourists and do not depend on fish and deer for long hard winters. Many people who are impoverished depend solely on these animals to feed their families and the more people disrupt the delicate balance between the environment, animals and humans, the worse off surrounding tribes will be. This includes major health concerns including cancer, diabetes, substance abuse and spiritual well-being.

We, as Indian people of this territory need the balance of our Mother Earth in order to maintain strong ties to who we are as Original People.

The second issue at stake with the upcoming Olympics is the misuse of traditional cultural practices such as ceremony and song. Many of these practices by our people are meant to only be shared within the territory, and therefore to only be used by the original People of the St’at’imc Nation. Out of respect for all ancestors who carried these songs and ceremonies thus far, we need to keep the traditions strong by teaching them to our younger generations, instead of foreigners first. The knowledge of these
traditional ceremonies is a privilege and should not be mocked or commercialized in exchange for money. If not respected, these ceremonies will be useless and meaningless.

The funding of the Olympics before the funding of the suffering, homeless and impoverished people of these Indian territories shows only that the government in B.C. is only interested in economic gain and not the well-being of the people who lived here prior to the Olympics. These groups of people include young mothers, single parents, people of color, and drug dependant people who have nowhere to turn, except the streets or worse off, death. The Indian people of the streets in Vancouver need to return to the traditional ways of living, including feeling pride to be Indian.

Further impoverishment will conclude in complete loss of culture, language and ways of living on our land. More money is sure to cause more problems for our people in the sense that our systems are not based on economic gain, but spiritual, physical, and mental well being, this includes a sense of belonging to where we come from. If our Land is destroyed, there is no hope to regain our knowledge as traditional St’at’imc People, but as a product of foreign rule and fraudulent systematic genocide.

To those who are supportive of the Olympics, there are many reasons for you to reconsider your support including the future of your children and the continuation of our ways as Original People. Selling our land, means selling our rights to the land, this includes hunting, fishing and building traditional homes for food preservation and recreational uses.

Once these agreements are made, they are forever, thus leaving our upcoming generations with no option but to abide by the foreign rule, and not to maintain ownership held for thousands of years by our ancestors.

In conclusion, man has no power over the Earth, we must care for this Land as though our lives depend on it, as it does. We depend on our Earth for water, food, homes, and spiritual well-being. There is no one to protect it but us, therefore we must take our proper place in defending the land as Original People. In one way or the other, each of our tribes hold names that represent Original People.

Our tribe, are Ucwalmicw, People of the Land, we will defend our land by all means necessary.



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