Saturday, January 16, 2010

Olympic Torch...Aboriginal Scorched

Just read the article, “It’s always about money: VANOC and the aboriginal torch relay” published in the Jan.14, 2010 edition of the GLOBE AND MAIL.

It’s commendable that VANOC has gone into the far reaches of Canada and included a number of remote Aboriginal communities to share the flame and that they (Aboriginals) would be full partners from the beginning and VANOC would “make sure that Aboriginals got Games-related jobs and positions on Olympic-related committees and boards.” Apparently, this is “just a fraction of the efforts VANOC was making to ensure that Canada’s aboriginal communities didn’t feel left out.”

Feeling left out!!

Yes, VANOC has adopted the inukshuk as its Olympic symbol which is very much misinterpreted but that’s another story. The real question that should be asked is where are the Aboriginal athletes who are going to the Olympics? The GLOBE AND MAIL showcases Olympic athletes on a daily/weekly basis but Canada’s Aboriginal People are no where to be seen. Talk about feeling left out. Apparently, ensuring a number of Aboriginal athletes competing at the 2010 Games was not “interwoven into virtually every discussion” from the beginning. Apparently too, Aboriginal participation and especially funding to athletes is to be left to the legacy of the 2010 Games. What about now or, better yet, what about six/seven years ago when it was announced that the Vancouver/Whistler bid was awarded the Games. According to what has transpired since, VANOC and any other sport organizations has “left out” the need for Aboriginal participation. Kudos to those immigrants who, within a year or two of becoming “Canadians” qualifed and now represent Canada at the 2010 Olympics.

In my experience in sport, Aboriginal people do not lack ability but lack the opportunity. I guess VANOC and all other sport organizations choose to ensure Aboriginal people remain marginalized. “Maybe that’s the story native leaders should be talking about at the Olympics.”