Reconciliation, Resurgence, Consent: Developing Principles for Indigenous ‘Participation’ in Canadian-Hosted Olympic Games, 1988 to present

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 4:15pm

JANUARY 23rd, Tuesday, 4:15pm in CV (Carver) 104. 

Christine O’Bonsawinassociate Professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Director of the Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Victoria, BC.

With generous sponsorship from Health and Human Development and Canada House.

Indigenous participation in the 1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games was primarily responsive to political complications presented by a small First Nations community from northern Alberta. Accordingly, Olympic organizers responded with the creation of the ‘Native Participation Program,’ a programmatic afterthought, steeped in settler colonial reasoning. Over the last thirty years, the political, legal, and social positions of Indigenous peoples within the borders of Canada have drastically shifted, creating nuanced ways in which Indigenous peoples assert their rights locally and nationally. As such, any future Olympic bid from Canada must consider Indigenous ‘participation’ to be in accordance with: enduring legal and human rights of Indigenous peoples; the historic treaties; developing jurisprudence in Canadian law; the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (2006); the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015); and, the resurgence of Indigenous nationhood.

Brief Bio:

Christine M. O’Bonsawin (Abenaki, Odanak Nation), Associate Professor, Department of History and Indigenous Studies Program, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Christine’s scholarship in sport history and Indigenous studies takes up questions regarding the appropriation and subjugation of Indigenous peoples/ identities/cultures in Olympic history. Recent scholarship has mainly focused on the legal and political rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and beyond, particularly with the arrival of the Olympic Games on treated as well as non-surrendered Indigenous lands.