10 years later, Penticton poet reflects on Canada's Olympic moment and time that's passed | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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10 years later, Penticton poet reflects on Canada's Olympic moment and time that's passed

Penticton poet Shane Koyczan recites "The Cut."
Image Credit: Wikimedia commons
February 16, 2020 - 11:30 AM

This week, 10 years ago, the Olympic cauldron was lit to open the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and later, the Paralympic Games.

It was a bonanza of national pride with Canadian athletes winning 26 medals during the 16 days of competition, including 14 gold, which at the time was a record for a country in a single Winter Olympics.

It also marks the anniversary of when a now nationally beloved poet hailing from Penticton took the national spotlight with his "We Are More," delivered during the opening ceremonies.

"Define Canada

You might say the home of the Rocket

Or The Great One

Who inspired little No. 9s and little No. 99s

But we're more than just hockey and fishing lines

Off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes..." Shane Koyczan started, winning over millions who tuned for the entire performance.

Unsurprisingly, he was asked to reflect on and repeat that moment for the 10 year anniversary and he made a statement about that through his own social media account, noting that today he doesn't have a 25 foot plinth rising out of the floor, but on this anniversary of our nations pride he wanted to "use what small platform" he had to say how he feels about current conditions.

"I was asked to perform the piece I did at the opening ceremonies. I declined these invitations because I can’t bring myself to proclaim Canada’s greatness while injustices like the ones endured by the Wet’suwet’en Nation continue, or while Attiwapiskat swallows poisoned water, or while Indigenous children are arrested for opening bank accounts," he wrote.

"These are only recent examples of Canada’s continued failure to protect Indigenous communities. We can talk about residential schools, or how our government withheld food from hungry aboriginal children in the 1940’s to conduct nutrition experiments. We can talk about the economic and social hobbling caused by the Indian Act (legislation created for the sole purpose of subjugating one race). We can talk about Neil Stonechild and the Saskatoon police, or small pox blankets, or the highway of tears, or Colten Boushie. The truth is that we have no shortage of talking points when it comes to the treatment of Canada’s most vulnerable people."

To read the full comment follow the link below.


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