Olympic Opening Ceremony

WOW – The Olympic opening ceremony was spectacular. Sure there was flash and sparkle, but the delicate way in which the ceremony celebrated the majesty of Canadian geography and the rich cultural heritage was fantastic. I was especially struck with the grounding of the ceremonies in the four indigenous chiefs welcoming the world. How different that is from the US, or for that matter other nations that have displaced and overrun aboriginals.

Just today I was talking to a historian. He was arguing that the longest American legacy has been the displacement of indigenous peoples. Longer than slavery, longer than democracy, we have taken land that wasn’t ours. His solution was a heartfelt apology backed up with a national tax paid to all the tribes for the lands. This would change our legacy as a nation and as I people.

“Really?” I thought, realizing I wasn’t nearly as a liberal as I had thought. What he said was interesting but I thought “not in my lifetime could that happen. It just doesn’t line up with the American myth of rugid individualism and our super special status in the world.”

And then I settled in to watch the Olympics. WOW – Canada appears to have made that change. It has quietly risen to a level of international integrity and passed the rest of the developed world by with its spirit of unity. The spokesperson actually used storytelling in the same breath as media.
Perhaps the rest of us should take Canada’s cue and begin a new era.

Thanks for showing us how reconciliation transforms into “oneness” on the international stage. Go Canadians: First Nations, British, French, and the Newcomers: All of Canada – You rock!

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About Dana Carmichael

Dana has a professional interest in Authentic Intellectual Work. This means focusing on improving intellectual quality in the classroom and increasing student engagement. By day, she does this work with a passion. By night, she is a thematic reader, examining a random essential question for the year through fiction, nonfiction, film and general random conversations.
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2 Responses to Olympic Opening Ceremony

  1. Shannon says:

    Hi Dana — I found your blog through a link you left on Facebook. I’m an AmeriCanadian, and an Olympics fanatic for many years now.

    It’s interesting about the First Nations and Canada’s relationship with them — I think the main difference is that Canada has made an effort and the government made relations a priority. So even though older Canadians like my parents and grandparents are kind of racist and dismissive and would never tell you that the First Nations contributed to Canada as they think they know it, younger Canadians like my cousins and me and our generation are really accepting of the First Nations as part of OUR culture, even though we technically descend from white Europeans. Ever since they made Nunavut a province, the whole contribution of the First Nations has been pushed to the forefront; it’s become more than some random totem poles in Stanley Park.

  2. Dana says:

    Thanks for the extra insights, Shannon.

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