Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Mi'kmaq choir holds out for Olympic opening: letter to Campbell

A Mi'kmaq children's choir from Newfoundland won't sing at the Olympics unless it's at the opening ceremonies, Miawpukek First Nation Chief Saqamaw Misel Joe said in a letter to British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell today.

At a Tuesday night meeting the 15-member, four-drummer choir discussed the offer B.C. made Monday to perform at aboriginal cultural events after the opening, he said. “Their decision was to agree to 'nothing short of performing at the opening.'”

“Deciding not to perform at these events is based on principle and has nothing to do with not wanting to perform,” he said. “You kindly extended an invitation to our choir to perform at the Opening Ceremonies for the 2010 Olympics and we cannot accept anything less.”

Two years ago, Campbell heard 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. Campbell attended the event with Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams and was so impressed he invited the choir to sing at the Games, according to various accounts.

The choir learned last week it had been “uninvited” to the Games after spending the last two years preparing for the trip and performance. Joe told the Tyee the choir deserved an apology from Campbell.

B.C.'s minister of aboriginal relations and reconciliation, George Abbott, said earlier this week that he wasn't at the event two years ago but “obviously . . . some expectations were created.” There were at least three or four events where the choir could perform, he said, including at an aboriginal showcase.

VANOC, not premier Campbell, decides who performs at the opening ceremonies, he said.

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

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus