Ex-official: Olympics about celebration

Updated: January 8, 2010, 5:50 PM ET
Associated Press

LONG PLAIN, Manitoba -- Canada's former national chief says the Olympics are not the best forum to highlight the chronic social problems facing aboriginal communities.

Phil Fontaine is a one-time head of the Assembly of First Nations who now works as an adviser to Olympic sponsor Royal Bank.

He carried the Olympic torch through part of Long Plain First Nation on Friday before just a few spectators in freezing weather.

Some First Nations groups say the Winter Games provide a chance to focus international attention on Canada's treatment of aboriginals. The relay has been blocked in several First Nation territories.

Fontaine defends the right to protest but says the Olympics are about a "celebration of indigenous cultures."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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