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Monday, February 09, 2009



Last week I attended the official unveiling of the 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion to be built for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Aboriginal and other leaders from across Canada joined the Four Host First Nations and members of VANOC to unveil the pavilion which will celebrate the rich cultures and diversity of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada -- First Nations, Inuit and Metis.


The c,000 square foot pavilion will be located on the plaza of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in downtown Vancouver, right in the heart of Olympic activity. A 65 ft. high spherical air-supported dome will be built using the latest technology to showcase the best of Aboriginal art, business, culture and sport from every region in Canada. The site will include a long-house containing a trading post for Aboriginal arts and crafts. The adjacent restaurants will be used for hospitality events. The event has been described as “the biggest potlach ever.” This sentiment was echoed by Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson who said he saw the pavilion as “the real heart and centre and soul of the 2010 Games.”

The ceremonies included a ceremony to introduce the official Aboriginal witnesses, speeches by tribal chiefs, including the National Chief, Phil Fontaine, and other dignitaries such as Gordon Campbell, the Premier of B.C. and Gregor Robertson the mayor of Vancouver, and various elders.

There was entertainment provided by a Metis jigger, an Inuit drummer and a First Nations hoop dancer.

Every member of the audience who witnessed the ceremonies were asked in First Nations tradition to carry it home and share it with their friends and family. The four Host First Nations -- the Lil-wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh - will welcome the world to their shared ancestral territories. It is the tradition of the Coast Salish people to welcome visitors by saying “I hold my hands up to you” and the feathers in the design of the Four Host First Nation’s logo represents this.

Because the Games will be staged on the traditional territorial lands of the Four Host First Nations people, the host nations will play an integral role in the Games. Special “theme” days will celebrate Aboriginal groups from all regions of Canada. There will be live events including Inuit throat singing, Metis jigging, First Nations hoop dancing as well as other contemporary Aboriginal performances. Visitors at the site will also experience a state of the art multi-media show projected on screens both inside and out.

The pavilion will open in February 2010 and run throughout the Winter Olympic Games.
For more information visit and download the fact sheet

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