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Issue: 64 Section: Letters Geography: West Topics: olympics

November 5, 2009


A letter from Dustin Rivers

by Dustin Rivers

Indigenous resistance to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Photo: Dawn Paley

VANCOUVER—Many will ask, “Why are you against the Olympics?” “Why are natives against the Olympics?”

For me it’s simply about the hypocrisy of this Olympic machine. It is a very stark form of colonialism in modern times. The objective of the colonizer has not changed in the past 200 years. The monster still wants to devour us, take our lands, and appropriate what little we have. With organizations like the Four Host First Nations, Olympic organizers have designed the operation in a way that it has our people aiding in the colonialism and oppression. This is not a new tactic. In the late 1800’s, the state created hereditary chiefs to aid in the Indian Agents' control of the communities. We are told they are helping our people. In the end, however, the environment and spiritual destruction, the twisting of our culture, and the oppression of our people are not worth it. No Olympics on Stolen Native Land.

It seems only a handful of people will truly benefit from the Olympics. Millions of dollars have, supposedly, been poured into our community. But only a small group of people and their friends and family are benefiting. Ironically, some of these people are a part of my family, but I stand by my principles.

One of the worst parts of the Olympics for me is how much our culture is being sold off and commodified into merchandise and money. A handful of artists have benefited from this. I was asked, “How come you're not applying for the Olympic arts opportunities?” Our children must know that some collaborated, and others resisted. And so I resist the 2010 Winter Olympics, and I’m not afraid of who knows that.

The myth about Skwxwu7mesh involvement in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games is quite large and troublesome: The land deals, the money-transfers, the real benefits, the history of how it all come together, and who’s doing what and what they are really doing. Perhaps in time I will work on exposing this myth, and speak the truth. The truth about my nation is that many are fed up with the 2010 Olympics and the lies fed to us by our own politicians. They claimed this would be the best thing for our people, and even use the words of dead chiefs to support their arguments. My community sees little for this, and in the end, it won’t be worth it.

I also have the police approaching me wanting to find out information about the 2010 Resistance. I’ve been told that my name has come up in Police meetings as “someone to watch during the Olympics.” What I say to this is: I know my rights, I know my intentions, I know what I believe in, you don’t scare me. Stop targeting indigenous people who are standing up for their rights.

In solidarity with those who think the Olympics is not worth it. For my ancestors who believed in something better then this. For my ancestors who didn’t die for us to be wealthy capitalists. For the future generations who must know that some resisted.

Dustin Rivers is a Sḵwxwú7mesh-Kwakwaka'wakw writer and artist. This piece was previously published on his blog, http://liberatedyet.com.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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