Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Coverage of Indigenous protests at Vancouver Olympics largely disappeared from commercial media

by Larry Geller

Winter Olympics excitement is in the air everywhere. What has disappeared, of course, is coverage of the protests taking place at the same time. In particular, it seems few news outlets want to research and report on how Canada has taken and developed Indigenous land, which will be used first for the Olympics and later for resource extraction.

A good place to start reading would be Democracy Now, Vancouver Activists Greet Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony with People’s Summit, Protest, (2/12/2010). At the bottom of the page are additional links.

No2010 The best website I have found for complete information on the Indigenous position is No2010.com. For example, there is an article describing the land issues. Snipping from it:

The 2010 Winter Olympics, to be held in Vancouver-Whistler from February 12-27, 2010, is today a very real threat to Native peoples, the urban poor (many of whom are also Native), and the environment.

While cutting social services, healthcare, education, etc., the BC Liberal government is at the same time providing billions of dollars to construction companies & other Olympic-related industries. The capitalists are making millions, while the poor are literally dying in the urban & reservation ghettos.

Most of this work is directly linked to 2010, to improve transportation & other infrastructure in preparation for the games.

All the expansion in transport infrastructure (highways, ports, railways, bridges, etc.) is meant to assist in greater resource exploitation, including ski resorts, mines, logging, natural gas, oil, etc. Since 2003, the BC government has been working to speed up the application process for these industries, making it easier for corporations to get projects approved. Premier Gordon Campbell has described these as “reforms to open up every sector of our economy” (BC Resort Strategy & Action Plan). The result has been huge increases in mining, gas & oil, as well as ski resorts.

Scrolling down on the same page, there is a discussion of how land has been illegally stolen, which begins:

BC is unique in Canada in that most of the province is unceded, non-surrendered Indigenous territories. According to British & Canadian laws, sovereign Indigenous territories were to be legally surrendered to the Crown prior to any trade or settlement. This was set out in the 1763 Royal Proclamation. In accordance with this, the British, and later Canada, carried out a series of treaties in its westward expansion across the prairies, and the northwest territory. These included the Numbered Treaties (such as Treaty No. 1, etc.).

So yes, people have been, are still, and will continue to be exploited and marginalized in order to bring us the wonderful spectacle of the Winter Olympics.



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