Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Indigenous People Fighting Back Against the 2010 Olympics

Reprinted from the facebook page of the Olympic Resistance Network:

The 2010 Winter Olympics will take place on unceded indigenous land from February 12-28, 2010. The effects of the upcoming Winter Games have already manifested themselves- with the expansion of sport tourism and resource extraction on indigenous lands; increasing homelessness and gentrification of poor neighbourhoods; increasing privatization of public services; union busting through imposed contracts and exploitative conditions especially for migrant labour; the fortification of the national security and military apparatus; ballooning public spending and public debt; and unprecedented destruction of the environment.

The Olympic Resistance Network is primarily based in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories and exists as a space to coordinate anti-2010 Olympics efforts. In doing so, we act in solidarity with other communities across 'BC' - particularly indigenous communities who have been defending their land against the onslaught of the Olympics since the bid itself. Our organizing is largely being done under the slogan of "No Olympics on Stolen Native Land," while creating an opportunity for all anti-capitalist, indigenous, anti-poverty, labour, migrant justice, environmental justice, anti-war, and anti-colonial activists to come together to confront this two-week circus and the oppression it represents.

In addition to building ongoing educational and resistance efforts, we are organizing towards an anti-2010 convergence based on the call for an international boycott by native warriors - particularly at the Indigenous Peoples Gathering in Senora, Mexico in October 2007. We hope to see you all in 2010 to demonstrate our indignation and resistance!

ORN website (under construction):


While so many are reveling in the legacy of what we perceive to be the Olympics, there is a courageous group of indigenous and non-indigenous activists, anti-capitalist/colonialist resisters and supportive people raising voices and serious questions about the socio-political and cultural effects of that legacy. There is a powerful statement being made, largely outside of mainstream media sources, that is informative on the capitalist, expansionist, globalizationalist, neo/settler-colonialist dynamic that underlies the presence of the Olympics in Vancouver and beyond this month.

The Olympic Resistance Network (ORN) and the Tent City residents have come under great pressure from the Vancouver Police and other authoritative forces during their occupation of the area near the olympic village. In addition, Democracy Now!, through Free Speech TV, has reported that numerous independent journalists deemed by the Vancouver and Canadian government to be supportive of the ORN and Tent City have been stopped at the Canadian/USAmerican border, detained and sometimes had their equipment seized. Amy Goodman, internationally know and respected anchor for Democracy Now!, was even detained and mistreated at the border. On one of the recent Democracy Now! broadcasts, a Canadian resident being interviewed on the show apologized on behalf of the government, moreso out of personal solidarity with Goodman, the journalists and the protestors than as any sort of official representative of the Canadian government.

Exacerbating the popular confusion around this issue of sport and indigenous sovereignty/human rights and justice, the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the Roman Catholic cable tv channel reported in their "Rome Reports" program that the Pope had sent a letter to the archbishop of Vancouver stating, "sports can make an effective contribution to peaceful understanding between peoples and to establishing the new civilization of love." Two things become clear in the light of the ORN's stance against the presence of the olympics. One is that the pope and all of his minions are ignorant of the olympic impact on human life and welfare in Vancouver. That might not be so surprising when we understand how closely related to capitalist and colonialist expansion the concomitant expansion of Roman Catholicism (in particular) and christianity (in general) is. Secondly, the pope and his vatican crew may be well aware of the effect of the olympics on the indigenous and poor populations in and around Vancouver. This would be even less surprising since the vatican has a history of intolerance and outright disrespect toward indigenous people. It is one of the political structures that has been forcibly ripping indigenous people from their lands and cultures all over the world, raping, pillage and killing indigenous people, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It clearly marks the vatican as, at the very least, a disingenuous socially retrograde structure. At worst, the vatican has a program of aiding and abetting the disintegrations of indigenous life and the spiritual energetics systems that indigeny has brought such deep foundation to around the globe over the last few million years. Equally as alarming, that the vatican has come out in support of the olympics' negative existence in Vancouver may help to obfuscate the populace's ability to see the necessity of supporting the Olympic Resistance Network and the indigenous people that are being actively and openly oppressed by the olympics, the Canadian government and other colonialist/capitalist structures (like the vatican).

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