Vancouver 2010 and the Four Host First Nations Society announce historic Aboriginal Licensing and Merchandising Program for the 2010 Winter Games

    VANCOUVER, March 5 /CNW/ - Authentic Aboriginal art from Canada will be
showcased to a worldwide audience and Aboriginal youth will directly benefit
from a historic Aboriginal Licensing and Merchandising program agreement
between the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic
Winter Games (VANOC) and the Four Host First Nations (FHFN) Society. VANOC and
the FHFN welcomed the Development Corporation of Nunavut today as the first
participating licensee in the program outside of British Columbia.
    The agreement provides the framework for the parties to cooperate on
developing licensed retail products in four key areas: authentic Aboriginal
art and products; the integration of Aboriginal graphics into Vancouver 2010
branded merchandise; a series of products featuring the Four Host First
Nations logo; and numerous other products featuring Aboriginal themes and
icons, such as canoes, paddles and drums.
    The first of its kind in Olympic history, the licensing and merchandising
partnership will result in one third of VANOC's royalties from sales of these
products being contributed directly to a fund for Aboriginal youth, supporting
education, sport and cultural initiatives for youth within the Four Host First
Nations, as well as First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada.
    "Today is an important day for our people. Together with VANOC and our
Aboriginal partners we are writing history by celebrating our diversity. Our
young people are our future and we hope to inspire and support them as they
build their dreams," said Tewanee Joseph, Executive Director and Chief
Executive Officer for the Four Host First Nations.
    Joseph celebrated this program last week in participating with VANOC
Chief Executive Officer John Furlong in a private signing ceremony witnessed
by International Olympic Committee President, Dr. Jacques Rogge.
    "We are committed to achieving unprecedented Aboriginal participation in
the planning and hosting of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games and we are pleased
to have authentic licensed merchandise that represents the culture of the Four
Host First Nations and Aboriginal peoples from across the country," said
    The announcement today was highlighted by the participation of members of
the Government of Nunavut who signed on as the first program participant from
outside of British Columbia. The Nunavut Development Corporation, a Crown
corporation of the Nunavut territory, will facilitate the development of
authentic, hand-carved inuksuit(1) from across Nunavut that will be showcased
as part of the 2010 Winter Games retail product line. More than 1,200 Inuit
artists are expected to participate in the program, carving inuksuit in one of
11 distinct community styles or forms.
    "Today's agreement for the licensing of made-in-Nunavut inuksuk(2)
carvings will guide consumers to authenticity," said Nunavut Premier Paul
Okalik. "It allows us to share the story of the inuksuk, our communities and
our world-class artisans. The program respects the origin and cultural
importance of inuksuit and opens the doors for Inuit to experience,
first-hand, the wonders of the Games."
    "I'd like to thank Premier Okalik and the people of Nunavut for joining
us in welcoming the world to the traditional territories of the Four Host
First Nations, and helping us articulate the soul of the Games through their
unique Inuit culture of which the inukshuk is a central element," said Premier
of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell. "This is a wonderful example of
collaboration and we look forward to connecting with all regions of Canada to
truly capture and showcase the strength of Canada's diversity."
    "The Vancouver 2010 Aboriginal Licensing and Merchandising Program is a
wonderful example of how VANOC is living up to its commitment of including
Aboriginal peoples across Canada and ensuring Aboriginal participation in all
aspects of the Games," said the Honourable David Emerson, Minister of
International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the
Vancouver-Whistler Olympics. "This program is an excellent way to showcase the
diversity of Aboriginal arts and culture from across the entire country."
    In addition to creating a monetary legacy for Aboriginal youth, the
Vancouver 2010 Aboriginal Licensing and Merchandising Program is also intended
to raise awareness about the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and their cultures -
one of a number of shared focus areas for both VANOC and the FHFN. Other
shared focus areas include: cultural involvement; economic development; sport
and youth; and a focus on partnerships and collaboration such as building
relationships with other Aboriginal peoples, First Nations, Inuit and Métis,
across Canada.
    The Games spotlight provides a unique opportunity to increase the profile
and understanding of the Aboriginal community, including its diversity,
history, talents and skills. As such, the FHFN and VANOC have been working in
partnership to develop opportunities for Aboriginal people in Canada. Today's
announcement is one example of how Aboriginal arts and culture has become part
of the Games experience.

    VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging
of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The
2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from
February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic
Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010.

    The Four Host First Nations Society is a not-for-profit organization that
has been established to coordinate the participation in the 2010 Winter Games
by the Lilwat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

    (1)  Inuksuit is plural for inukshuk
    (2)  Inukshuk can also be spelled inuksuk. Vancouver 2010 uses the
         inukshuk spelling.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Chris Brumwell, Director, Media
Relations, VANOC, (778) 328-6269,; Tewanee
Joseph, Executive Director, Four Host First Nations, (778) 327-5775; Karen
Kabloona, Press Secretary to Premier Paul Okalik, Government of Nunavut, (867)

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