FOUR First Nations – the Lil̓wat7úl (Líl̓wat), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations – announced on Friday they have jointly entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Vancouver and the Resort Municipality of Whistler to begin the process of assessing the feasibility of hosting an Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The four First Nations and the two municipalities will now work with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) along with other stakeholders to explore the impacts and benefits of hosting the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The MOU creates a Host Nations Exploratory Assembly for the consideration of a 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid.
“The Líl̓wat Nation is pleased to partner with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the City of Vancouver to explore the first Indigenous led bid to host the 2030 Games,” said Chief Dean Nelson. “The Nations’ participation in the 2010 Games as a bid partner was ground-breaking, and with this announcement and our desire for this to be the first Indigenous led bid for an Olympic Games, we continue to lead the way in Indigenous participation in major events.”
“The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games brought our four nations together in a new and exciting way. Since then, we have continued to work together for the benefit of our communities,” said Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow. “By exploring the possibility of bringing the Games back to our territories, we have an opportunity to create a new Olympic legacy that is grounded in our unique Indigenous perspectives – an approach that should be considered for all future Games.”
“In the spirit of Reconciliation, it is important for our Nations to understand the impact and potential benefits of hosting the 2030 Winter Games,” said Squamish Nation Councillor and Spokesperson, Wilson Williams. “Should a bid go forward, our Nations will lead and engage in all aspects of planning and hosting the Games. It is an opportunity to announce to the world that we are not invisible, we are still here and will always be here.”
“In 2010, we had the opportunity to host the world on the traditional territory of the Líl̓wat, Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Those Games created a legacy for the four Host Nations,” said Tsleil-Waututh Nation Chief Jen Thomas. “From all that we learned from hosting the world in 2010, we know that along with the City of Vancouver and the Resort Municipality of Whistler, we will be able to build off that legacy, making the 2030 Games the first Indigenous-led Olympic Games and the best Games yet.”
Vancouver and Whistler, as the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games co-host cities, have been invited by the Host Nations to participate in these exploratory discussions. The MOU has been formally endorsed by the elected councils of each of the partners and builds on the legacy of the 2010 Games.
The Assembly will work with the COC and CPC to assess the feasibility of 2030 Games concepts for the region that all partners will review. The feasibility analysis will focus on collective benefits and priorities, and on how the bidding process can set frameworks for government partnerships.
As one action addressing reconciliation in sport, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) has called upon the officials and host countries of international sporting events such as the Olympics, Pan Am, and Commonwealth Games to ensure that Indigenous Peoples’ territorial protocols are respected, and local Indigenous communities are engaged in all aspects of planning and participating in such events (TRC Call to Action 91).
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart added: “This historic partnership is the first step in exploring something unprecedented, creating the first ever Indigenous-led Olympic and Paralympic bid. As a City of Reconciliation, Vancouver is honoured to be invited along with Whistler to support the four Host Nations in this process and demonstrate what true reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples can look like.”
Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton said: “Whistler saw significant benefits from the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. As a local government, the Resort Municipality of Whistler is compelled to heed the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report and accept the invitation from the four Host Nations to join them in exploring the impact and potential benefits from hosting the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”