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No Vancouver 2010 Olympics on Stolen Land

The 2010 Winter Olympics, to be held in Vancouver-Whistler from February 12-27, 2010, is today a very real threat to Native peoples, the urban poor (many of whom are also Native), and the environment.

While cutting social services, healthcare, education, etc., the British Columbia Liberal government is at the same time providing billions of dollars to construction companies & other Olympic-related industries. The capitalists are making millions, while the poor are literally dying in the urban & reservation ghettos.

Already, more land has been destroyed for the expansion or construction of highways, ski resorts, & Olympic venues. Billions of ‘public’ money is also being spent on new bridges, port facilities, railways, as well as urban transit.

All the expansion in transport infrastructure (highways, ports, railways, bridges, etc.) is meant to assist in greater resource exploitation, including ski resorts, mines, logging, natural gas, oil, etc.

Since 2003, the BC government has been working to speed up the application process for these industries, making it easier for corporations to get projects approved. Premier Gordon Campbell has described these as “reforms to open up every sector of our economy” (BC Resort Strategy & Action Plan). The result has been huge increases in mining, gas & oil, as well as ski resorts.

Mountains Under Attack

“The mountains, pure & undisturbed, are essential to the survival of all people. Mountain ecosystems provide us Indian people with all of our physical, cultural and spiritual needs… the mountains are our shelter and protection… The most powerful medicines are collected in the mountains.
The source of all water comes from the mountains. The mountains are the most spiritual place for us.”

Elder quoted in “Our Elders Tell Us,” Our Mountain Worlds & Traditional Knowledge, 2002

Since 2000, the main Native struggles in the BC interior have been against the construction, or expansion, of mountain ski resorts.

This sharp increase in resort development is largely due to government promotion of the industry, which included the establishment of a Ski Resort Task Force in 2004. The task force was largely comprised of members of the resort industry and their primary goal was to increase ski resort development in the province.

The group released a Resort Strategy & Action Plan in 2004, which made clear the connection between the industry’s rapid growth and 2010:
“The Resort Strategy links to the Spirit of 2010 Tourism Strategy & the International Trade & Investment to 2010 Strategy. All these strategies are designed to grow tourism throughout the province, maximize opportunities created by hosting 2010… and attract national & international investment.”

Despite their portrayal as being eco-friendly, ‘low-impact’ tourism, ski resorts cause large-scale ecological destruction to mountain habitat. If you think about it, building a resort town along with massive ski runs & chairlifts on top of a mountain obviously has a big impact on the environment.

There is extensive logging for roads, ski runs, parking lots, town centers, golf courses, and townhouses. Then there’s water, sewage, & electrical systems. On top of all this there is the operation of the ski resort itself.

Stolen Native Land

British Columbia is unique in Canada in that most of the province is unceded, non-surrendered Indigenous territories. According to British & Canadian laws, sovereign Indigenous territories were to be legally surrendered to the Crown prior to any trade or settlement.

Today, most of BC remains unceded sovereign Native lands, over which neither the Canadian or BC governments have the legal or moral authority to govern.

With current attempts to legalize the prior theft of Native land & extinguish Native title & rights (the BC Treaty Process), the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their lands continues, and by itself constitutes an act of genocide.

Countdown 2010: Anti-Olympic Resistance into 2007

For the urban poor of Vancouver, which includes many Natives, 2010 has already meant hundreds evicted from low-income housing, more homelessness, criminalization, and increased police repression. Aggressive policing in the Downtown Eastside has also involved immigration officers targeting (mostly brown) immigrants.

Organizations such as the Anti-Poverty Committee, Downtown Eastside Resident’s Association, No One Is Illegal, Downtown Eastside Women’s Center, and the PIVOT legal society, have been the most vocal & active in challenging these conditions. Since October 2006, over 20 arrests of members of the Anti-Poverty Committee have occurred during protests or occupations.

Extracts from; No Olympics on Stolen Land website

See More at: No 2010 Olympics on Stolen Native Land

See also: 2010 Watch

See also: Impact on Community Coalition

See also: put 'Vancouver' into our search box above right

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