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Letter: First Nations ask municipal partners for continued support in advancing Olympic bid process

'We ask you, as cities who are committed to reconciliation, to continue to paddle with us.'
chief wayne sparrow speaks at 2030 Olympics draft hosting plan announcement at Whistler's SLCC
Musqueam Indian Band Chief Wayne Sparrow speaks during the unveiling of the Canadian Olympic Committee's draft hosting concept for the 2030 Winter Games, held at Whistler's Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre on June 14, 2022.

Dear Mayor and Members of Council,

On behalf of the Lil̓wat7ul (Lilwat), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations (Four Host First Nations), we re-affirm our strong support for advancing the bid process to bring an Indigenous-led 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to British Columbia. We ask for your continued support and engagement as we take the next step in the process and call on all parties to further engage In meaningful dialogue to collaboratively address the collective investments necessary to achieve the benefits of this historic and groundbreaking vision.

An Indigenous-led 2030 Olympic and Paralymplc Games provide a multi-faceted opportunity to act on our communities' and our governments' collective commitment to reconciliation, to amplify Indigenous voices and to reimagine how a Games can make us all stronger. Work completed to date has shown a significant opportunity to drive benefits to all people in the region and to bring them together inspired by a common goal. In recent years, we have seen important steps taken towards reconciliation and welcoming the world together, an Indigenous-led Games In 2030 has the potential to positively transform this country and set a precedent for generations to come. This Is a historic opportunity for the City of Vancouver to collaborate with the Four Host First Nations.

On July 8, 2014, the City of Vancouver was officially designated as a city of reconc.iliation and adopted a reconciliation framework, demonstrating leadership in advancing municipal reconciliation policies.

On July 15, 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission published its final report with Call to Action 91 asking that officials of host countries of international sporting events such as the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, ensure Indigenous peoples' territorial protocols are respected and local Indigenous communities are engaged in all aspects of planning and participation in such events.

On November 28, 2019, the Government of BC became the first province in Canada to implement the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through legislation by passing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act).

On June 21, 2021, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP) received Royal Assent in Canada and immediately came into force.

On December 9, 2021, the Four Host First Nations invited the City of Vancouver and the Resort Municipality of Whistler to sign a memorandum of understanding that created a 2030 Leadership Assembly to explore the possibility of putting reconciliation at the core of bringing the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (the Games) back to British Columbia and Canada in 2030.

On January 19, 2022, the 2030 Leadership Assembly invited the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) to sign a collaboration agreement to join them in their mandate to explore the possibility of a 2030 Games.

On June 14, 2022, after months of collaborative dialogue and constructive work with the leaders and the staff of all Leadership Assembly partners, and with staff of the provincial and federal governments, an Initial Hosting Concept was released. It proposed an Indigenous-led Games taking place on the traditional and unceded territories of the Host First Nations in Whistler, Vancouver and the Lower Mainland and on the traditional and unceded territories of the Adams Lake Indian Band, little Shuswap Lake Band and Neskonlith Indian Band. An initial financial estimates and assumptions overview followed in early July outlining the relevant private and public investments necessary to deliver the Games.

Importantly, on June 23, 2022, the Four Host First Nations leaders invited the political leaders of the Province of British Columbia and the Federal Government of canada to join in discussion as we entered the engagement phase of the project. Building on the Initial Hosting Concept and Initial Financial Estimates and Assumptions this phase invites all parties to the table to further develop details of a potential bid.

We have read the municipal staff reports with great interest. We agree that details of the relationship between partners and governments remain to be confirmed, and this is what will be done in the next step of this process, following the invitation sent to the federal and provincial governments in June and this current round of discussions with all Leadership Assembly partner councils.

Following our Indigenous process, including community consultation and engagement, our Councils are in the process of confirming the support of the Lil'wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations for a 2030 Games Bid, conditional on the successful completion of the next phase, the development and finalization of a 2030 Games Multiparty Agreement, to which the Four Host First Nations, the City of Vancouver, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada would be signatories, and that would articulate the governance and structure of a Games-time Organizing Committee, specific funding shares of each signatory, and legacy benefits arising from the Games. We are on track to meet national and international timelines and have directed Nations staff to continue to work with the other Host Nations and Partners on in advancing the project.

We ask the same of our partners and now invite the City of Vancouver, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee to likewise support advancing this Indigenous-led 2030 Games project and request they provide mandates to their staff to enter into necessary discussions regarding the terms of a Multiparty Agreement.

Our Nations have each endorsed continued pursuit of this historic opportunity. We ask you, as cities who are committed to reconciliation, to continue to paddle with us. Together, we have the power to positively transform the country and lead the way in establishing a global model for reconciliation and partnership.


Chief Dean Nelson / Lil̓wat7ul / Lilwat Nation

Chief Wayne Sparrow /  xʷməθkʷəy̓əm / Musqueam Indian Band

Spokesperson Wilson Williams / Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw / Squamish Nation

Chief Jen Thomas / səlilwətaɬ / Tsleil-Waututh Nation