Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Misrepresentation of Canadian First Nations People

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One can argue that the 2010 Olympics committee has edited and re-packaged native culture — which has also been ripped out of its traditional contexts. The Committee is highlighting Arctic indigenous imagery — yet Vancouver, the centre of the Games, is a temperate city. Arctic indigenous peoples did not live there — or on the nearby Whistler and Cypress mountains, where some Olympic events will be held. Other BC First Nations tribes who did live in that area of British Columbia also were not represented in the marketing iconography.

One First Nations man who was asked to be a participant in the 2010 opening ceremonies, was told when he came to the fitting room in his own traditional regalia, to put them aside and instead done some sort of costume, “like you see the king and the queen have in Europe – those big long robes that drag on the floor.” It was not remotely authentic at the least. This misrepresentation of the First Nations people doesn’t show the world “who [they] really are as First Nations people.”

When I watched the Olympics opening ceremonies on February 12th 2010, after the original broadcast I felt proud of my country for finally including and celebrating Native peoples in the production. I was also happy that it is the first time that First Nations have been recognized by the International Olympic Committee as official host partners in any games.

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Take a minute and try to understand the Indigenous plight. This is not something that is so far in the past it has no effect today. It has a very strong effect. Colonization and residential schools has influenced my friend’s father's suicide and has in turn affected her entire life. The pain is still present, it is still here. I would ask that you just listen, and ponder, and learn the real Native history that has been hidden from all of us.

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