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Opening of Aboriginal Pavilion Historic as First Nations Recognized as Official Olympic Partners

The CEO of the Four host First Nations Society Tewanee Joseph kicked off the speeches today at the opening of the Aboriginal Pavilion.

Four host First Nations: Lil'wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh are official partners in the 2010 Olympic Games.

Lil'Wat Chief Leonard Andrew, Musqueam Chief Ernie Campbell, Squamish Chief Bill Williams and Tsleil-Waututh Chief Leah George-Wilson along with Chief Gibby Jacob, a Squamish Councilor and Hereditary Chief who also serves on the VANOC Board of Directors were on stage with John Furlong, Mayor Gregor Robertson, and Premier Gordon Campbell.

Premier Campbell recalled when the late Jack Poole of the International Olympic Committee, himself a Métis, first told people of "his vision to include First Nations in a way that had never been imagined before, to reach out in a way to encourage their artists and their athletes, their communities, and their children, to aspire to what could be accomplished."

One of the hereditary chiefs from the Squamish Nations, Chief Bill Williams  reflected on the Coast Salish cedar longhouse-style structure.

"What's special about this is its reflection of an ishkin, which is an interior Salish-Lil'Wat style," he said.

"I was told a long time ago when I was a child, that when you walk into the longhouse, there's an imaginary peg outside the door, and you put everything you have on that peg that's negative: everything you have that is full of anger, everything you have that does not reflect the goodness of humanity, you put on that peg. You come in here and you will be treated as you should be treated, full of respect." 

 "When you leave this building tonight, please take your baggage with you," he joked.

"All four communities and First Nations were here to come to work collectively in support of the Games, taking advantage of our shared history and now, common goal, success and hope post-Games. Those differences we may have had, we put aside to make this partnership possible," said Justin George, elected Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

"This gathering today shows that there is room for many paddlers in the canoe, but when we paddle together with one heart, one mind, and one spirit, great things can and will happen." 

However, with the world joining Vancouver in a few days, he said, "we might need a bigger canoe."

Aboriginal songs and dances were performed and among them is of the Métis.

Aboriginal Pavilion

The pavilion is 8,000 square feet and a 65-foot high inflated multi-media Chiefs' House Dome will bring images and sounds of the 2010 Aboriginal signature show entitled "We are Here." This 360-degree view will allow spectators to see contemporary depictions of the FHFN and Aboriginals in Canada. 

What does the logo mean?

The sphere showcases unity. The mission of the FHFN logo was to represent the partnership between the Nations and VANOC to make sure that the Games were successful "and that the Nations' languages, traditions, protocols and cultures are meaningfully acknowledged, respected and represented in the planning, staging and hosting of the 2010 Winter Games." 

The four feathers in the epicentre represents 4 feathers pointing to the cardinal directions: North, South, East and West. This invites and welcomes athletes and guests of the world. It also shows open arms stretched out to extend respect to all visitors: "I hold my hands up to you."

At the rim is a representation of the Creator and ancestors watching over the human faces which represent each of the four Nations. 

Aboriginal Artisan Village and Business Showcase:

Opening on February 12th, it's located at the Vancouver Community College campus in downtown Vancouver.

Selling Aboriginal arts and crafts from First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists from across Canada with over 100 will participate in the village "to promote increased business and economic development within the Aboriginal Community by celebrating and showcasing talented Aboriginal people and businesses on the world stage."

Aboriginal Fashion Showcase:

About eight designers reach out to people with their designs. Haida, Cree-Métis, and Nooksack designers are among the eight that will present their collections through fashion shows listed below in their runway schedule:

February 13, 7:15pm Premier Designers' Show (Invitation Only): Angela DeMontigny|Dorothy Grant|Pam Baker

February 14, 3:00pm Four Mini Showcases: Kim Picard|Nadine Spence|Louie Gong|Pam Baker

February 15, 3:00pm Four Mini Showcases: Tammy Beauvais|Tracy Toulouse|Angela DeMontigny|Dorothy Grant

February 16, 3:00pm Emerging Designers' Showcase: Kim Picard|Tammy Beauvais|Tracy Toulouse|Nadine Spence|Louie Gong

Jack Poole Reception Hall:

Unwind here. Named after the late Jack Poole, chairman of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, this 2,000 square foot space will host private hospitality functions during the day, then at night, will open to the public which will cost $25.00 and include admission to the hall and you will be able to sample Aboriginal cuisine such as grilled Atlantic salmon skewers with maple glaze and BC forest mushroom and Chèvre tartlets. You can also taste some wine from Nk'mip Cellars, which is Canada's first Aboriginal winery, and also grab alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at the bar.  

Pavilion Trading Post:

Buy some Aboriginal Vancouver 2010 souvenirs here, "where one third of VANOC's royalties of all Aboriginal merchandise will be donated to the Vancouver 2010 Aboriginal Youth Legacy Fund. This fund will help to support sport, culture, sustainability and education initiatives for First Nations Inuit and Métis youth Canada-wide."

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