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First Nations children's choir 'uninvited' to Olympic opening

The invitation British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell personally made to a Mi'kmaq children's choir to sing at the 2010 Olympic Games opening ceremonies has been withdrawn, according to Newfoundland media reports.

“The invitation came after an impressive performance by the Choir that left Premier Campbell awestruck,” according to the website for St. John's, Newfoundland radio station VOCM.

Campbell saw the Se't A'newey First Nation Choir, which is based in Conne River, Newfoundland, sing at the National Aboriginal Women's Summit in Corner Brook two years ago. In front of Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams, Conne River Band Council Chief Misel Joe and others, Campbell invited the children to make the trip to Vancouver, the story said.

“Yesterday, Chief Misel Joe told a meeting of the parents and singers that Premier Campbell had informed Premier Williams there would be no place for the Choir at the opening ceremony,” VOCM reported. “There was no apparent reason made public.”

Chief Joe was in a meeting this morning and not immediately available.

Campbell was returning from Greece where he attended the lighting of the Olympic torch this week and was unavailable. A spokesperson for the premier said she had not heard about the choir's concerns, but would look into it and call back.

The choir has been preparing for two years and the community has “spent considerable time and effort fundraising and preparing for the trip,” said a St. John's Telegram story. The paper quoted an e-mail from a community member: “A part of each and every one of these children died last night.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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