February 19, 2008

Apples, not applause, for AFN

On February 18, 2008, members of the Native 2010 Resistance disrupted an Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and Four Host First Nations (FHFN) photo op at the Sutton Hotel, located on Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver).

Indigenous women From the Native 2010 Resistance poured bags of apples onto the podium where National Chief Phil Fontaine was announcing “First Nations participation and volunteer opportunities with the 2010 Olympics”. Like apples, Phil Fontaine and the Four Host First Nations sell-out chiefs are red skinned but white on the inside, bargaining off Indigenous lands for profit. Fontaine tried to keep his composure, his podium filled with apples as Native women yelled in front of his face “No Olympics on Stolen Native Land!” and told the small crowd “You should all be ashamed of yourselves for contributing to the rape and destruction of Mother Earth!.”

Indigenous resistance against the games has been snowballing as more are learning about Olympic industrial development and destruction taking place on Skwxwú7mesh-ulh (Squamish), Lil’wat, St’at’imc, Stölo, Nlaka'Pamux, and Secwepemc Native Lands.

While the Four Host First Nations claim to have avid support, the room that the media event took place in was nearly empty for the first 20 minutes and filled to a measly 15 people with only one media personnel to take advantage of the ‘photo op’. There was also no security at the event or around the hotel during the affair.

The AFN, which is the so called “national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada”, will assist the Four Host First Nations and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) in distributing a series of newsletters that will provide information on how to volunteer at the Winter Games. The AFN will also make available other opportunities for First Nations peoples to participate in the Games including the Vancouver 2010 Torch Relay, Cultural Olympiad, and employment and procurement opportunities.

According to conversations at the event today, Four Host First Nation’s reps expect over 350 First Nations volunteers for the 2010 Olympics. However, the prospect seems daunting given the mounting resistance against and knowledge of the negative impacts on Indigenous lands, and related Indigenous homelessness and poverty. Native youth, Elders, women, and men are growing more skeptical about participating in the 2010 Games and are fighting back.

The Native Resistance vows to continue to disrupt events that support the 2010 Olympic Games and contribute to the theft of Indigenous lands, to homelessness and poverty.

This is absolutly amazing and hilarious at the same time. Phil Fontane has made a lot of questionable decisions and statements, increasingly showing how disconnected from the people the AFN is. The AFN is not a grassroots organizations working with or for the people. It's really come down to a Conservative gov't sponsored lobby group. Four Host First Nations, the organization created to represent the interests of the band councils involved in the 2010 Olympics, and those band councils are also increasingly disconnected. I've seen and heard about media interviews with chiefs and CEO's from these organizations, and the claims they make about the benefit of the Olympics is showing to be further from the truth.

2 weeks of games and my people will have little to show for it. Destruction of land and culture for capitalistic job training, and "careers" that will only last a year or two after the Olympics have come and gone. Let alone the cultural appropriated and degradation coming to "prepare the people for 2010". Their main claim for ancient indigenous cultures is to "share our culture with the world", yet these same cultural elitists don't share it with their own people. They share it with their business buddies, and egos' to create self-produced CD's, movies, and other paraphernalia.

Resistance to 2010 Olympics is not about us, about a small group fighting against the corporations. It is about standing up for what is right, not easy, in this world, for the next generation. What will future generations say, when they don't know or feel the almighty power of "jobs" for some dude who died a few hundred years ago. All they will see and know is the expansion of sacred sites for condo, the development of food gathering sites for ski hills, and mass produced cultural icons for Jim and Sally in China, Europe or where ever. I say no to the 2010 Olympics as a Skwxwu7mesh for all those who cannot', and for all those who have not yet because they are not in existance yet. Small minded visions of now, and not the future, but use slogans of "for the future generations". How much are they getting paid to do this, and how much are the people paying for it.

No Olympics on Stolen Land.


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