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News :: Globalization : Human Rights : International : Race
What’s Wrong with the 2010 Olympics?
04 Mar 2008
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 habitats of many wild animals. The concerns of the First Nation peoples are not new. Naomi Klein wrote a 2003 piece for the Guardwarian entitled, “The Olympics Land Grab,” in which she described the repressive measures used by the Canadian government to enforce its presumed right to overrun native lands.

[repost from March 2008 BAAM's newsletter]
resist 2010-web_0.preview.jpg
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 coastline, 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 economy.

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 Shuswap Nation. The nation calls themselves the Secwepemc, a group of nomadic bands who have lived on the land for at least 10,000 years (they believe since the beginning 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 habitats of many wild animals. The concerns of the First Nation peoples are not new. Naomi Klein wrote a 2003 piece for the Guardwarian entitled, “The Olympics Land Grab,” in which she described the repressive measures used by the Canadian government to enforce its presumed right to overrun native lands.

The situation can only get worse as the Olympics approaches. Vancouver has al2ready 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 appropriation 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 actions of the First Nations. Specific protests will be scheduled as issues arise.
See also:
http://no2010.com/
http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/203799/index.php
Related stories on this site:
1st Issue of The Nor 'Easter, Quarterly of the Northeast Anarchist Network
BAAM's 7th Monthly Newsletter: Free!

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