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Four Host First Nations to build pavilion in Vancouver

Aboriginal cultures to be showcased during Games; media coming to Whistler for one-year countdown

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With Feb. 12 marking the one-year countdown to the 2010 Winter Olympics a number of announcements are being made this week and next, including the unveiling of plans for an Aboriginal Pavilion in Vancouver.

Leaders from the Four Host First Nations, VANOC, the federal and provincial governments and aboriginal communities across the country were in Vancouver Monday morning for the announcement of the pavilion.

"Today we salute the vision, the coming together and the outreach of our four Chiefs and our four communities," said Tewanee Joseph, CEO of the Four Host First Nations, which include the Lil’wat, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations.

The pavilion will be located on the plaza of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in downtown Vancouver and will be centred on a 65-foot high inflated multi-media sphere. The $3.5 million construction project, funded by VANOC and the Four Host First Nations, will also include a Coast Salish Longhouse, which will be relocated after the Games, and the adjacent QE restaurant, which will be converted to a reception hall featuring Aboriginal exhibitry and cuisine.

The pavilion is intended to showcase First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples during the Games.

"The 2010 Winter Games represent a turning point in our history," said National Chief Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations. "For the first time in Olympic history, Indigenous Peoples are full partners in hosting these Winter Games and we will work closely with the four Host Nations to ensure there are lasting legacies for our people."

The pavilion will open in February 2010 and run throughout the Winter Olympics. Special theme days will showcase Aboriginal groups from all regions of Canada. Live events will include Inuit throat singing, Metis jigging, hoop dancing and other Aboriginal performances.

Meanwhile, next week’s one-year countdown to the Games is drawing television and radio networks to Whistler. CBC radio will be broadcasting two live shows from La Bocca Restaurant, on Feb. 11 and 12, and CBC anchor Ian Hanomansing will be the guest speaker at Thursday’s Whistler Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Global Television and CTV will also be broadcasting from Whistler next week.

Outdoor concerts are planned for the village next week to mark the countdown, and there is a possibility the design of the Olympic torch will be unveiled.

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