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Young Indigenous People break barriers

11 Feb 2010
Vancouver 2010, Olympic News

Canada`s aboriginal youth community met with Governor General Michaëlle Jean this morning at the Vancouver Public Library for an Olympic Truce Dialogue.

The dialogue revolved around the involvement of the indigenous people in the Vancouver Games and included an open forum for attendees to weigh in their thoughts on indigenous issues.

“This is the first time in Olympic history that indigenous people are official partners of the Games,” Jean said.

The CEO of Vancouver 2010 Organising Committee, John Furlong said “We knew we would have a more compelling story to give [by including indigenous culture in the Olympic Games]". He added Canadians and the world will be proud of the aboriginal contribution to the Opening Ceremony on Friday.

The some 400 guests were then encouraged to share their thoughts on current issues, peace, mutual understanding, inclusion and cooperation.

Jacob Pratt, a student from a university specifically for indigenous people in Saskatchewan, said his school was constantly faced with funding cuts.

“We should be studying but instead we have to fight to keep our university open,” he said.

Ashley Julian from Nova Scotia said indigenous people needed to start sharing their culture. “We need to start reaching out to non-natives.”

Issues of alcoholism and HIV/AIDS were discussed as pandemics that need to be eliminated at home before they could be solved globally. “We can’t achieve global harmony if we don’t achieve it here at home,” said Matthew Pike from Newfoundland. 

“Stand for something and be a part of the solution,” said Carmelita Abraham from British Columbia, who also preformed a rap song about improving the conditions of indigenous people.

Other performances included traditional aboriginal dances and break dances.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

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