2010 Aboriginal Pavilion to showcase First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples during 2010 Winter Games



    VANCOUVER, Feb. 2 /CNW/ - Aboriginal and other leaders from across Canada
joined the Four Host First Nations (FHFN) and the Vancouver Organizing
Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) in downtown
Vancouver today to unveil plans for the 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion.
    "Today we salute the vision, the coming together and the outreach of our
four Chiefs and our four communities," said Tewanee Joseph, CEO of the Four
Host First Nations. "We'd especially like to recognize the strong support
we've received from VANOC, our federal, provincial and city government
partners and the leaders of the Aboriginal communities of Canada."
    Centered on a 65-foot high inflated multi-media sphere, the pavilion will
use the latest technology to showcase the diversity of Aboriginal art,
business, culture and sport from across Canada. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
visitors will enjoy this experience in the relaxed, informal setting of the
Pavilion.
    "These are indeed "Canada's Games" made all the more so by the full
participation of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada," said Senator Gerry St.
Germain. "For this reason, the federal government is pleased to be a partner
with the Four Host First Nations Society and with VANOC, as the economic
benefits of the Games will extend far beyond these traditional territories to
the benefit of all Canadians."
    Special "theme" days will showcase Aboriginal groups from all regions of
Canada. Live events will include Inuit throat singing, Métis jigging, hoop
dancing, as well as spotlighting contemporary Aboriginal performances and
other fields of achievement.
    "This pavilion will be a place of pride for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
Canadians, a place to come together to celebrate our rich history and culture
during the 2010 Games," said Premier Gordon Campbell. "The traditional
territories of our First Nations partners hold many wonderful stories, and we
expect to experience many of them at this unique 2010 Aboriginal gathering
place."
    The event hosts are the FHFN Chiefs: Leonard Andrew, Lil'wat Nation;
Ernest Campbell, Musqueam Nation; Bill Williams, Squamish Nation; and Leah
George-Wilson, Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Other speakers on stage include Premier
Campbell; Senator St. Germain, representing the Honourable Chuck Strahl,
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and the Honourable Gary
Lunn, Secretary of State for Sport; National Chief Phil Fontaine, Assembly of
First Nations (AFN); Mary Simon, President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK);
Clément Chartier, President, Métis National Council (MNC); Mayor Gregor
Robertson, Vancouver; John Furlong, CEO, VANOC; and Mr. Joseph.
    Located on the plaza of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in downtown
Vancouver, within easy walking distance of BC Place and GM Place, the 8,000
square-foot 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion will be right in the heart of Olympic
activity, with Vancouver's Celebration Site located immediately across Cambie
Street.
    "This plaza is in the heart of our city's cultural district, and I am so
proud that we've been able to provide space for the 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion
at the QE Plaza," said Mayor Robertson. "The Musqueam, the Squamish and the
Tsleil-Waututh have been part of these lands long before we became a city, and
I'm so pleased that together we will celebrate Aboriginal contributions here
during 2010."
    VANOC CEO John Furlong said: "The 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion is a true
celebration of the partnerships that have been brought together in the spirit
of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Our host First
Nations partners have reached out to the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada to join
them in showcasing the best of themselves to the world through the Pavilion,
demonstrating that these indeed are Canada's Games."
    In keeping with the Salish traditions, honoured guests were called upon
to officially witness the event, including Squamish hereditary Chief Gibby
Jacob, VANOC Board of Directors; Grand Chief Edward John, First Nations
Summit; Grand Chief Matthew Mukash, Grand Council of the Cree; Grand Chief
Andy Carvill, Council of Yukon First Nations; President Bruce Dumont, Métis
Nation British Columbia; Kevin Mckay, Executive Chair, Nisga'a Lisims
Government. FHFN partners from other regions of the country were not able to
attend but conveyed their support.
    The $3.5 million construction project, supported by VANOC and the FHFN,
features a high-tech 3,000 square-foot sphere, surrounded by a Coast Salish
Longhouse. The Longhouse, which features a 1,500 square-foot Trading Post,
will be relocated after the Games as a permanent legacy. As well, the adjacent
2,000 square-foot QE restaurant will be converted into a Reception Hall,
featuring Aboriginal exhibitry and cuisine.
    "The 2010 Winter Games represent a turning point in our history," said
National Chief Fontaine. "For the first time in Olympic history, Indigenous
Peoples are full partners in hosting these Winter Games and we will work
closely with the four Host Nations to ensure there are lasting legacies for
our people."
    "The Inuit of Canada are proud participants in 2010, and proud partners
of the FHFN," said ITK President Mary Simon. "We are keen collaborators in
sharing the story of Aboriginal Peoples from across Canada with a world
audience. It is with pride that Inuit stand with the FHFN in sharing the story
of our culture, showing the world the people behind the Inukshuk."
    "Citizens of the Métis Nation are extremely proud of our culture, our
heritage and the unique role we have played in building Canada," said MNC
President Clément Chartier. "During the Games, we invite the world to share in
our arts and our culture at the pavilion stage, and to experience that pride
first hand."
    "This Pavilion will be the Aboriginal gathering place at the biggest
potlatch the world has ever seen - the 2010 Games - hosted here within our
shared traditional territories," said Squamish Chief Williams, Chair of the
FHFN Board of Directors. "We're welcoming the world, and this pavilion will be
the place to experience the best in Aboriginal culture, business and
achievement."
    "Most of Canada's history has been written in hundreds of years," said
Lil'wat Chief Andrew. "Our peoples have shared these lands for thousands. We
look forward to welcoming the world here for an authentic Aboriginal
experience in 2010."
    "The people we see gathered here today in support of the FHFN Pavilion
shows what can happen when we treat each other with mutual respect," said
Musqueam Chief Campbell. "We are proud partners in these Games, and appreciate
that our First Nation, Inuit and Métis friends stand with us here today and
will be a welcome part of this Pavilion."
    "This Pavilion is our Longhouse. This is where we will welcome friends,
family and visitors," said Tsleil-Waututh Chief George-Wilson. "The Olympic
focus on youth and on sport, combined with the experiences this Pavilion will
offer, will become a very positive story to be told and celebrated by many
generations to come."
    The Pavilion will open in February 2010 and run throughout the Winter
Olympic Games. For more information on the Pavilion, please see the 2010
Aboriginal Pavilion Fact Sheet.

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    





For further information:

For further information: Alex Rose, Communications Director, Four Host
First Nations, (604) 346-7720, agrose@shaw.ca

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