Thursday, January 07, 2010


Well, it looks like the province of Manitoba will let the Olympic Torch run pass with very little in the way of protest. On its first pass through the city of Winnipeg little happened in the way of 'anti-Olympics' besides the appearance of what is apparently a "travelling PETA" protest that follows the torch run from city to city. I hardly want to even begin discussing those people. The Winnipeg Sun reported that there were "a small group of other protesters" but that nobody was able to ascertain what they were protesting.
The only place where any significant protest took place was in eastern Manitoba when the torch first entered the province. The protest by a number of native activists was not about the matter of unceded native lands on the west coast and the seemingly eternal wrangling about land claims in Canada. It was, however, about an issue equally as important, the hundreds of native women who have disappeared over the years in Canada, presumed victims of fatal violence. If the reader wishes to follow this issue more closely I can suggest the website of the Native Women's Association of Canada. Each year, on October 4, the NWAC holds the 'Sisters in Spirit' vigils in numerous communities across the country to remember this missing and murdered women. Last year the event was held in 72 different Canadian centres.
The demonstration in the east of the province got little publicity. Here is one item from the CTV Olympic coverage that gives an idea of what happened.
Murdered and missing women a ‘national disgrace’:
The Globe and Mail
By Susan Krashinsky

RURAL MUNICIPALITY OF REYNOLDS, MAN. - The Olympic torch trucks whizzed along the Trans-Canada Highway into Manitoba yesterday, but as they crossed over the Whitemouth River and flew past a remote junction, a slower and more sombre procession took place.

Horses. Seven of them, carrying leaders from native communities as nearby as Roseau River and as far away as the Canupawakpa Dakota Nation near the Saskatchewan border. Those who didn't ride walked along the shoulder. They came to this stretch almost 100 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, in cars and vans and buses, to draw attention to the plight of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.

The demonstration was peaceful, and did not disrupt the torch's progress.

Allan Courchene, the principal of the high school at the Sagkeeng First Nation brought a gaggle of teens on the 90-minute trip in the early morning. "I brought our students to support the cause of our females that have gone missing," he said, adding that such cases need to be investigated with more urgency.

"We are not protesting the athletes," said Chief Terrance Nelson of the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation. He organized the demonstration. "We welcome them. But we want to remind people ... what's happening to our people."

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