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(en) US, Boston, BAAM's 7th Monthly Newsletter - page 2 - What's Wrong with the 2010 Olympics? by Dave Rhoads

Date Mon, 21 Apr 2008 14:23:52 +0300

Vancouver, British Columbia has been chosen fort the site of the 2010 Olympic
Games. To many, British Columbia seems like a great locations, with its rugged
coast-line, mountain ranges, pristine wilderness, and temperate rain forests.
Indeed, many peaks in the Canadian Rockies are permanently snow-capped, so
skiers can indulge themselves year-round. ---- This opportunity has not gone
unnoticed by enterprising developers. Ski resorts began to spring up several
years ago and expansion is proceeding apace. The 2010 Olympics will accelerate
this process in several ways. New skiing facilities will be built for the Games,
which can then be converted into resorts in the future. Highways, power
facilities, and shopping malls will be built to provide access and services
during the Olympics and beyond. The spotlight on British Columbia will attract
tourists and encourage further resort development.

The long-term influx of skiers, tourists, and
other visitors will be a huge boon to the
So what's wrong with this picture? Only
that this wilderness does not belong to us,
to British Columbia (as we know it), or the
Olympic Committee. It belongs to several
First Nation peoples, one
of whom is the Shus-
wap Nation. The nation
calls themselves the Sec-
wepemc, a group of no-
madic bands who have
lived on the land for at
least 10,000 years (they
believe since the begin-
ning of time).
The Secwepemc have
never ceded their lands to
Canada or to anyone else.
They have consistently
affirmed their right to
live as they always have,
by hunting and fishing to
sustain their communities.
Development has slowly been eroding this
way of life. Despite their recognized right to
their ancestral lands, Canadian courts have
sided with the province and developers in
destroying their habitat as well as the habi-
tats of many wild animals. The concerns of
the First Nation peoples are not new. Nao-
mi Klein wrote a 2003 piece for the Guard-
ian entitled, "The Olympics Land Grab,"
in which she described the repressive mea-
sures used by the Canadian government
to enforce its presumed right to overrun
native lands.

Vancouver Natives
Forced Out for
2010 Olympics

The situation can only get worse as the
Olympics approaches. Vancouver has al-
ready begun to evict First Nation people
from their homes because they want to
"improve" the neighborhoods. However,
the residents are generally poor and have
nowhere else to go. Presence of the police
and military has expanded to assist in the
"clean-up" as well as to suppress peaceful
protests. The repression is sure to accelerate
beyond its current level of injustice. This is
only a modest step toward the eventual ap-
propriation of the native lands for further
exploitation with mining, oil exploration,
and other heavy industries.
So what can we do? Tell others about the
plight of the Secwepemc and other First
Nations. Keep yourself informed about the
Olympics, the Olympic movement (sic),
and the underlying commercialism that
puts capital accumulation by the few above
the ancient human rights of many. Join
the protests as they develop. The No2010
Movement (www.No2010.com) contains
much information on the protests and ac-
tions of the First Nations. Specific protests
will be scheduled as issues arise.
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