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No 2010 speaking tour

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

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  • No 2010 poster image

    No 2010 poster image

Written by www.thecannon.ca

When people think of the winter Olympics, pictures of heroic athletes, beautiful mountains and large happy crowds come to mind. For Kanahus Pellkey and her people they are a very real threat.

Kanahus spoke at the Guelph Youth Music Center two nights ago as part of the No Olympics On Stolen Native Land speaking tour. In front of a packed crowd, she passionately explained why native groups all over Canada are mobilizing against the Olympics.

"The main issue is land... in B.C. we've never signed any treaties or surrendered anything. The games are coming to our territory." She went on to say that; "We are not fighting for land so we could build a McDonalds or mine for diamonds to make a lot of money. Were fighting so we can have freedom, so we can walk on the land like our ancestors did."

The Olympics would involve extensive construction and expansion into currently wild areas. Therefore, land has become a flash point between corporate entities and politicians interested in winter tourism and indigenous resisters. One example is when the Sun Peaks Ski Resort wanted to expand from 4, 000 to 24, 000 rooms. The Native Youth Movement, blockaded roads and set up protest camps. Their actions were met with the arrests of many participants and the destruction of homes and sweat lodges built on the mountain. Kanahus stressed that it was not only Sun Peaks who they are fighting but any business that intends to encroach on and profit from destroying native traditional land. The places and mountains of which she spoke are used by her people every day for medicine, food, water and much more.

When asked if she thought it might be possible to create a compromise between Indigenous peoples and the Olympics Kanahus was very clear. "No" she said; "because anywhere it goes it's about capitalism and fun and games for the rich...they are prostituting our culture for money."

She, and the groups she represents, are calling for a boycott on the Olympics, on B.C. tourism, and any of the companies that support it, like the Royal Bank of Canada outside of which she held a press conference earlier in the day. During the press conference, a banner was dropped from the bank of Montreal across the street, it read "Capitalism is Colonization: Every Bank is a Colonizer". In 2010 there will be a massive convergence of natives and their supporters in B.C. with the intention of disrupting Olympic events. "People are willing to riot." Kanahus says.

The website gives a history about the negative side of the Olympics as well as information about the upcoming convergence. In the closing statement it says; "We must be a part of a broader international movement... to expose the role of the Olympics industry in urban displacement, privatization of public space, displacement of indigenous peoples, and increasing profits for the rich. Saying NO! to the Olympics means saying no to nationalism and militarism, to political repression, to racism, to corporate greed, and to the suppression of indigenous rights.

In the morning following this talk, the new Delta Hotel at Stone Rd & Gordon St. had six of it's windows broken. It was claimed in support of the No2010 campaign.

If you'd like to hear Kanahus talk about the Native Youth Movement a pod cast is available here.

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  1. Posted by: vicki on Feb 13, 2008 @ 10:12am

    the link to the website doesn't seem to be working, so it's actually no2010.com

    sorry

  2. Posted by: Jenny on Feb 13, 2008 @ 1:02pm

    I went to the event on Monday and I found it to be excellent. I am very impressed with the strength of these people to persevere despite having their land stolen from them, and when they protest about it, they get their homes raided.

    It is crazy the way 'Canada' treats Native people. It is shocking and I hope more non-Native people shed the blinders we're brainwashed with in schools and mainstream culture and see that we need to change things fundamentally.

  3. Posted by: Pat on Feb 13, 2008 @ 1:15pm

    I also saw Kanahus speak and I was really inspired.... it made me think a lot about what the heck Canada is anyway... it seems to be such a silly concept, being a Canadian citizen, and these borders are strange concepts too. The indigenous people were here way before the borders and also, nature knows no borders. I hope someday they all crumble off the planet for good.

  4. Posted by: PssD on Feb 13, 2008 @ 1:57pm

    i really appreciate that you have included the link to the article about the guelph delta hotel windows being smashed and how it is connected to the olympics. it is important to understand the connections between corporate, military and state interests that are continuing the colonial theft and destruction of land here on Turtle Island. there are many targets, even here in guelph, that are totally complicit in the ongoing genocide of Indigenous People and the Earth. thanks for writing about these issues.

  5. Posted by: j on Feb 13, 2008 @ 3:37pm

    I posed this question in another article about a similar topic. No one answered.

    What would be an ideal solution for settling all of these aboriginal land claims?

  6. Posted by: Pat on Feb 13, 2008 @ 5:08pm

    That is a big question, with many parts to it, and not a clear end in sight, because there is so much to do to get there, where ever 'there' is.

    These are some elements I would think necessary:

    a Canada-wide truth and reconciliation process with wide-spread public education about Canada's genocidal history. With more than just apologies, but land given back, social services supported, etc.

    An actual stop to ecological destruction, so that wild animals and wild forests can come back and once again be sources of food, medicine, spiritual strength, for Indigenous People (and everyone else). This is integral to traditional culture, sources of empowerment, and much more.

  7. Posted by: Pat on Feb 13, 2008 @ 5:13pm

    I have heard some Indigenous people say that their communities are not ready to have these huge sums of money thrown at them, because as communities, families, and individuals, they are not yet healed from the trauma of residential schools, being stolen from their families, the sexual and psychological assaults, having their language forbidden, and so on. There needs to be a stop to development in their territories so they don't have to be in constant defence mode, and can actually heal, and then deal with what comes next.

    In non-Native cultures, and capitalistic-minded people, there needs to be rapid and seriously deep change in mental attitudes towards the earth, so that everyone can recognize that cities have to stop growing and destroying more land, big industries like mining, oil, logging, weapons testing, industrial agriculture, and so on, so that can all stop for good. Part of regaining sovereignty is about being allowed to live free of capitalism and industrialism, and that requires forests, wildlife, rivers that actually support fish habitat, and so on.

  8. Posted by: Pat on Feb 13, 2008 @ 5:23pm

    Part of the needed mental shifts can be called decolonization. That means thinking deep about what 'Canada' means, what borders mean, their histories, who created them and why, who's interests they really serve, who they harm, and so on. Instead of looking at the earth and Turtle Island as comprised of Canada and the US with provinces and states, what about bioregions? And watersheds, landbases, homelands, traditional territories, mountain ranges, praires, deserts. Earth based, tribal, Indigenous people identify with a sense of place, rather than identifying with a nation-state. Where do we live? When we think of our neighbours who we share our homes with, do we think of the animals that a healthy ecosystem requires? If we do, then we would not want to destroy their home.

    This all looks like living locally - with food, clothing, and shelter. Not needing to maintain crazy huge infrastructures to support the importing of products, because we would rather live with what our landbase provides.

    That can give Indigenous communities more space to live free of so much encroachment and development. And it means doing all this as fast as we can.

  9. Posted by: Sean on Feb 13, 2008 @ 7:21pm

    Aside from my normal objections to this sort of event, have any of you considered what the concept of "native land" really entails? Prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America, most native tribes were constantly in a state of open warfare with each other over land. Land that one tribe might claim is rightfully "theirs" often has several other equally valid claims. But no no... it's the big bad European who is the only villian in this saga, and things were just hunky dory before he arrived. Honestly...

  10. Posted by: Sean on Feb 13, 2008 @ 7:26pm

    Also, as far as the vandalism to the new Delta hotel, this was not by any means a political statement. Open protest in the street, sure... sigining petitions, alright... some worthless punk cowardly breaking some windows under cover of darkness... pathetic. Anyone who thinks that this is a relevant political statement is quite frankly a waste of life. I reccomend their mothers use birth control next time.

  11. Posted by: Becky on Feb 13, 2008 @ 8:17pm

    Sean, you are just a gem of a human being aren't ya?

  12. Posted by: Kelly on Feb 13, 2008 @ 9:18pm

    I like what Pat wrote.

  13. Posted by: Jimbo on Feb 14, 2008 @ 12:47am

    Let's settle down here folks. Native rights don't garner the respect they deserve, and considering the encroachment into native land it's obvious some sort of compromise needs to be made. But that is the key - compromise. I find it very hard to respect the argument of Ms. Pellkey. In particular, when she was asked about the possibility of compromise her answer was a childish "No". Her people have been mistreated, but no government will negotiate with a party unwilling to settle for anything but their demands.
    Finally, the Olympics are not an evil corporate entity. They have been bastardized by commercialism, encouraged by governments to pay for the massive cost of the event, but are certainly not about militarism, repression, and racism. Wake the fuck up! You're like a christian fundamentalist who thinks the base of the religion is hating gays instead of love and charity. The Olympics are supposed to be about celebrating diversity and human accomplishment. Use your brain, and look past the shit to the real heart. Just because you watch/attend the Olympics doesn't mean you have to be eating McDonald's and drinking Pepsi.

  14. Posted by: Sean on Feb 14, 2008 @ 9:04am

    Well, in all fairness I've never claimed to be the paradigm of goodness in society. At the same time ms. becky, I've never (save once in high school) been elected to represent thousands of my peers for the purpose of defending their rights as students. Were you going to make some valid arguments against what I wrote or simply attack me as a person? (google: ad hominem fallacy) I must agree with Jimbo, the Olympics, despite how much they have been corrupted by various corporate sponsorship in recent years are an organisation striving towards a common comeptition of the everyman. Remember, this is the same organisation that allowed a black man to win a gold medal in Nazi Germany, clearly not a group that exists for the sake of hatred...

  15. Posted by: Seth on Feb 15, 2008 @ 8:51pm

    wow, I can definitely see you are not even remotely close to being a 'paradigm of goodness in anything' Sean, and it's probably a good thing you haven't been elected to represent anyone. Back to your arguments though, property damage is a method or resistance and there is a message behind it just as there is one behind a demonstration, petition, political campaign, etc. The statement behind such an act could be perceived as follows (just speculation, I can't claim to know what was going through that persons head): "you support holding the Olympics on stolen land so we are going to break your windows and that will cost you money. Once you withdraw your financial support for the Olympics we will stop breaking your windows". I'm sure we can come up with many other variations or possible interpretations of the political statement made by individuals or groups engaging in those activities, it doesn't really take much imagination. Who knows Sean, maybe even you could come up with one if you think hard enough.

  16. Posted by: James on Feb 16, 2008 @ 1:16pm

    What I got from that banner and the hotel vandalism was that the olympics and the development of unceeded territories is the "product" of capitalism and the ongoing colonization that is intrinsic to its growth.
    What I got from those events was that it is not just olympic sponsors who colonize but every capitalist who makes a profit from the expansion of this alien system.
    We all really need to take into question the fact that the olympics is one event in a continual process of exploitation.

  17. Posted by: j on Feb 16, 2008 @ 7:20pm

    RAAAAAARGH CAPITALISM, EXPLOITATION, STOLEN LANDS! RAAAARGH$@#!

    what i got from the hotel vandalism was the idea that whoever was behind it are pretty much akin to a bunch of idiot 14 year olds who want to go around breaking things.

    good job fellas, you broke six windows, SIX. i'm sure that gets you closer to your ultimate goal of crushing capitalism. morons.

  18. Posted by: James on Feb 19, 2008 @ 1:22pm

    I agree with you that a few broken windows is definitely a very small step towards "crushing capitalism." I have no idea what people would do to "crush capitalism" it seems like a pretty big task to take on. You sound like you know a little more about what to do to accomplish that goal, maybe you could share your insight.
    But this is all aside from my point. I was just stating that rather than rag on people's choice methods of "crushing capitalism" we could debate the fact that colonialization is continuing on land that was never given away or lost in a war and that olympics and delta hotels are capitalizing from it while people are left in poverty.

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