First Perspective, February 11, 2010
A LOCAL Aboriginal art producer, critical of the Olympics’ Aboriginal Licensing and Merchandising Program has been informed he cannot participate in the Olympic Artisan Village unless he allows approval of his communications regarding the Olympics. “One week before we were meant to open shop they blindsided us with a contract stating we would submit for approval any communications, including publications, press releases, website copy or collateral material, produced referencing the 2010 Winter Games,” said Shain Jackson, a former Aboriginal rights lawyer and owner of Spirit Works Limited, a company making Native jewelry and bentwood boxes.
Jackson has been calling on the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic games to stop using the term “Authentic Aboriginal Products” to mean their licensed products with Aboriginal graphics on them, but supplied by non-Aboriginal companies and made overseas.
“First they divert business away from some of the most impoverished communities in the country with their disingenuous marketing techniques, and when we complain about it, they take away the only limited opportunity the Olympics did offer us” says Jackson. “We feel this to be a severe infringement of our right to freedom of expression. Although it appears the Olympics feels otherwise, in this country we take it very seriously when these types of tactics are used to silence our opinions.”
Jackson states that he and his five First Nation employees have been preparing for months toward this opportunity but will shoulder the blow in order to protect a value they hold dear.
For more information contact: Shain Jackson, Spirit Works, 604-727-0018