More news from the local newspapers about Ilanaaq’s chilly reception since her unveiling. The squamish nation is using powerful words like “agression” and “attack on our soveriegnty”. Wow. Is this thing going to die down soon? Has there been any official response from VANCOC to all the reaction and negative press?
Squamish chief calls Ilanaaq ‘aggression’
Gerald Johnston says it’s the symbol of a ‘foreign aboriginal nation’
“A Squamish hereditary chief is lashing out at Vancouver’s new Olympic logo as “an intentional act of aggression against our sovereignty.”
But band officials say Gerald Johnston is voicing a personal opinion that doesn’t reflect the views of band elders.
Johnston wrote a letter to B.C. band councils calling on Olympic organizers to “cease and desist” using the Inuit-style logo, which he slammed as a symbol of a “foreign aboriginal nation.”
“It is akin to Russians planting their flag on the Parliament Buildings or the White House without permission,” he said.
He said the choice of logo shows bad faith on behalf of the B.C. government and “constitutes an ongoing assault on aboriginal title.”
Johnston called on 2010 organizers to “remove all vestiges” of the logo from Squamish land, which includes Olympic venues in North Vancouver and Whistler.
Squamish Nation Chief Gibby Jacob, a board member of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC), said Johnston’s opinions don’t reflect those of other Squamish hereditary chiefs.
“Like everybody else here, I’d have loved to see something with a West Coast First Nations design flavour to it,” said Jacob yesterday. “But if it had been, I’m quite sure there’d have been someone else complaining.”
He said there will be other opportunities for First Nations to “put our mark on,” including Olympic medals and cultural events.
VANOC spokeswomen Renee Smith-Valade said 2010 organizers have a close relationship with the Squamish band.
“The fundamental premise of the design competition was to choose a design that reflects all Canada and has a story that is meaningful to all Canadians and not just one aboriginal group or region of the country,” she said.
Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit said he’s taken native concerns about the logo to B.C. federal ministers Stephen Owen and David Emerson. “It’s really ticked a lot of people off,” he said. “There are other options, whether it’s a secondary trademark or whatever.”
He said he’s written to VANOC but hasn’t received an answer.”