Will they or won’t they? Olympics viewers find out tonight if Russian ice dancers stick with aboriginal costumes
Russia's Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin display their First Nations blankets as they receive their scores for the compulsory dance during the ice dance figure skating competition Friday at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Domnina and Shabalin in their controversial costumes. (AP photo)
Russian ice dancers Maxim Shabalin and Oksana Domnina made a point – after winning the compulsory portion of their competition – of showing off the red, white and black blankets given them by members of Canada’s Four Host First Nations. The pair met with First Nations representatives who talked to them about cultural sensitivity after a furor arose over their Australian aboriginal-style costumes and music during an earlier competition, the AP’s Nancy Armour writes here
. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge even said he might intervene. But, says Shabalin, “Our routine was very fair, and we respect this culture.” He and Domnina remain coy as to whether they’ll wear the costumes – consisting of dark body stockings, white aboriginal-style markings, and large leaves – tonight in the Olympics.
No curse on Norwegian athletes, First Nations leader says
In fact, Bob Chamberlin, chairman of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council and secretary treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, says cursing has never been part of First Nations tradition. Nonetheless, the Montreal Gazette reports here, there have been suggestions aboriginal people put a curse on the Norwegian Olympic team because of Norwegian-owned fish farms along wild-salmon migration routes.
Native ranchers praise settlement of black farmers’ suit; urge quick action on their own
The Obama Administration announced late last week that it will settle untimely civil rights claims of black farmers for $1.25 billion. Now, those involved in the 12-year-old case of Keepseagle v. Vilsack regarding Native farmers and ranchers urge the administration to follow up on talks it started in the fall with a quick eye toward resolving that suit, too, Farm Forum reports here.
Storage of nuclear waste on Indian reservations “economic racism akin to bribery”
Health News Digest says here that it gets why some impoverished tribes host hazardous waste on their sovereign reservations – which are not subject to the same environmental and health standards as U.S. land – as a way to bring in money. But Bayley Lopez, of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, says that “in the quest to dispose of nuclear waste, the government and private companies have disregarded and broken treaties, blurred the definition of Native American sovereignty, and directly engaged in a form of economic racism akin to bribery.”
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe launches telephone system
The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe’s lephone system is up and running on the reservation, according to the AP, here. Tribal leaders say the telephone and advanced broadband services provided by Native American Telecom-Crow Creek will pave the way for business, economic, social and educational development on the reservation.