2010 Aboriginal Pavilion Reaches Milestone with Completion of Phase One of Construction

Today, the Four Host Nations offered a sneak-peek of the 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion, which will use the latest technology to showcase the 'best of the best' of Aboriginal talent at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

"The Pavilion is our showcase to the world," said Tewanee Joseph, CEO of the Four Host First Nations Society. "In two months we will open our doors to the world and celebrate the rich and diverse cultures of Aboriginal peoples across Canada. Today we are proud to share a small glimpse of what visitors will experience when they come to our Pavilion."

The Pavilion is located on the plaza of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in downtown Vancouver - only steps away from BC Place Stadium and Canada Hockey Place.

Aboriginal leaders, distinguished guests and members of the media were given a guided tour of the Pavilion to mark the completion of construction on the Coast Salish longhouse-style superstructure, which will house a 1,500 square-foot trading post and an elders' lounge. Following the Games, the longhouse structure will be relocated as a permanent legacy.

"Today marks a milestone in the development of the 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion - a place of community and sharing during the Games that showcases and celebrates our unique and collaborative partnership with the Four Host First Nations and Aboriginal peoples across Canada," said John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC)

The construction project, which was supported by VANOC and the Government of Canada, also includes a 65-foot translucent dome, which will be added just days before the Games begin. When operational, images will be projected on the surface of the dome - lighting up the Vancouver night.

"I'm pleased that our Government's contribution of almost $3 million to the Four Host First Nations Society for the 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion has made construction, operations, and exciting programming possible. We are working to ensure that Canada's investment leaves a legacy of economic and social benefits for all Aboriginal peoples," said Senator Nancy Greene Raine, on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians.

The Four Host First Nations have also released a preliminary schedule of events at the Pavilion which includes traditional and contemporary performances from First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists across Canada. Each night, the Four Host First Nations will present "We Are Here" - a multimedia experience showcasing Aboriginal culture.

"This Pavilion is a symbol of what can be accomplished when we work together," said Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation George Abbott. "This spectacular venue will be a gathering place for visitors and residents to connect with First Nations communities and businesses. The Four Host First Nations have done a great job leading this project.

"The Four Host First Nations also revealed plans for the Aboriginal Artisan Village and Business Showcase, which will be located adjacent to the Pavilion.

"The 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion will be a stunning showcase of our Four Host First Nations to the world," said Mayor Gregor Robertson, City of Vancouver. "This venue embodies the extraordinary cultural connections forged through the Winter Games - ones that will continue to strengthen long after the Olympics and Paralympics are over."

"The 2010 Winter Games represent a turning point in our history," said Chief Leonard Andrew of the Lil'wat Nation. "For the first time in Olympic and Paralympic history, Indigenous Peoples are Official Partners in hosting the Games."

"We see the 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion as a gathering place - a place where visitors of all cultures are welcome," said Chief Ernest Campbell of the Musqueam Nation. "We are proud to welcome the world here to our traditional and shared traditional territories."

"We have invited First Nations, Inuit and Métis from across the country to join us at the Pavilion and they have accepted our invitation," said Chief Bill Williams of the Squamish Nation and Chair of the FHFN Board of Directors. "We believe that Aboriginal participation will be one of the defining elements of these Games and we are honoured to share this opportunity with Aboriginal people across Canada."

"Each day at the Pavilion will be a unique experience, said Chief Justin George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. "From traditional performances to intimate rock concerts, the Pavilion will offer something for everyone. It will be a great celebration of culture and we welcome all Nations of people to celebrate with us."

The 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion will open to the public on February 12, 2010 and run throughout the Olympic Winter Games.

For further information: Alex Rose, Communications Director, Four Host First Nations, (604) 346-7720, [email protected],

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