Indigenous-led, green BC2030 Dares us to Dream
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A lot has happened since 2010 around Indigenous recognition and in Canada’s winter sport history. In 2010, the rise of the Indigenous Snowboard team (seen in the image above as they cut the ribbon at the opening of the Catskinner high speed quad at Blackcomb in 2018) was just a glimmer of the potential for the games to be a gamechanger.
Now two histories come together with an interest for a world first: an Indigenous-led Olympic bid that if successful, would see the return of the Winter Olympics to BC in 2030. To make it a reality, here’s a call to action to all us snow seekers out there, read on and share this story with your friends.
BC2030: Could the Olympics return to Western Canada?
98: the number of stands Canada took on the podium for a bronze, silver or gold winter Olympics and Paralympic games since 2010. While hundreds of Canadians were training hard and breaking their personal sport boundaries, our country - as Canada - has been busy breaking its reconciliation boundaries.
In May of 2022 I witnessed Haida Gwaii reclaim its traditional community placename (Queen Charlotte City returned to Daajing Giids) and my hands have been raised to the BC Government since it became the first jurisdiction in North America to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the Province's framework for reconciliation.
Mid-June I joined a series of First Nations and the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees in Vancouver to make history.
“We are in the presence of a history making event,” as Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow said at time of unveiling the now complete games concept and venue 2030 Winter Olympic plan.
Take a look at the proposed venue map shared with SnowSeekers during the Vancouver Board of Trade #BC2030 luncheon.
How did we get here: #BC2030?
Given the success and momentum Indigenous communities felt coming out of the 2010 Vancouver Whistler Olympics, Líl̓wat (Lilwat), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations had been in discussion about having the Olympics come back to BC to further benefit Indigenous communities.
Interestingly enough, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) was also investigating the potential for the return of the games and asked the First Nations group for the chance to collaborate on the bid.
The rest as they say, is history. You can see the timeline of the games' path thus far from this graphic.
All going well, the #BC2030 Olympic and Paralympic bid submission this December, will be a ground breaker for many reasons:
1) Indigenous-led 2030 Bid. What does “Indigenous led mean? “A process that is respectful, working together to build a games model that will be a template for sustainability,” describes Tricia Smith, COC president.
2) Reuse and recycle – a Games that will reuse many of the venues the athletes competed in during 2010, refurbishing them for the next 20 years of public and competition use.
3) Expand the Games community footprint - First Nations at the table from day one, not an afterthought, while including the communities of Sun Peaks, and Kamloops (with the ski resort hosting the events that were at Cypress Mountain in 2010).
Have a look at this graphic, again from the bid team, showcasing the approach being used to generate the bid, and the path forward that can act as a model for other communities looking to host events in collaboration with their Indigenous community members
A very intriguing aspect of this ground-breaking effort to build BC’s Winter Olympics bid, is their 7th generation principle: looking back seven generations to inform today while looking forward seven generations to consider the impacts years later.
BC’s bid is up against some great competition including Salt Lake City’s thirst to re-welcome the winter Olympic and Paralympic games there. “We have the opportunity to make the world know Vancouver, BC and Canada, and it’s up to us to do something every day, a little thing between now and then to share or post something promoting our excitement to this bid,” explains Games advocate and former Tourism Vancouver lead, Rick Antonson.
“The return of the games won’t just happen because we think it will,” explains Smith, “we need the public’s opinions and to hear their excitement for the opportunity here, this goes a long way in the bid process and gaining the IOC’s favourable response to our bid.”
Once this engagement phase is complete, feedback will be assessed. If it’s all looking positive with true benefit to our communities - with a large portion of those going to First Nations and the tourism industry - then the First Nations leading the bid will make things official in December. The bid process runs through the winter, and by May 2023 the International Olympic committee would make their announcement.
This just feels right: an Indigenous-led approach with a plan that will not leave a financial hangover, rather a financial windfall with new infrastructure and tourism money coming into the country and BC, while fuelling the interest in dreaming again through winter sport and reconciliation.
Give feedback to #BC2030 bid committee
Join the circle – sign up for #BC2030 updates and take their survey and let your voice be heard during this very important public engagement phase of the journey in seeing the return of the 2030 winter Olympics. Join SnowSeekers and our team in sharing your support!
Let’s do this… #BC2030 – start dreaming, let's leave a legacy from this that the world will put to use around climate change and reconicliACTION.
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