Islands youth selected for pre-Olympic gathering

  • Dec. 30, 2009 12:00 p.m.

Eight young people from Haida Gwaii will participate in an event at the opening of the Olympics. Erica Ryan-Gagne, Elly Wesley, Ashley Crosby and Desiree Wilson of Skidegate and Cori Savard, Zachary Collison, Kyle Robinson and Charlene Lawrence of Old Massett are heading to Vancouver at the end of January for the Indigenous Youth Gathering at the 2010 Olympics. Exact details are not clear, but at least one participant said the youth would be taking part in the opening ceremonies. The gathering will bring together more than 300 youth (ages 19-29) from First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities across Canada between Jan. 30 and Feb. 14. Ms Ryan-Gagne said she applied on-line and the application sought young people who were role models in their communities. The participants get an all-expenses paid trip to Vancouver, including food, transportation and accommodation, for the two weeks prior to the Olympic opening on Feb. 12. She said the Haida youth were asked to bring regalia and were asked if they could do choreographed movement and dance, but she wasn’t sure of the details around the performance they would be involved in. Ms Savard said two organizers of the youth event came to Masset in November and those who applied to be part of the gathering were told they would be in a large-scale performance at the opening ceremonies, but details around the event are confidential. She was also asked to send designs for “fake tattoos” for her and one other performer to the organizers. “They want to keep it as traditional as they can,” she said. The Observer could not reach a media spokesperson from the youth gathering to confirm whether the youth would be participating in the official opening ceremonies in time for our deadline.