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Old 02-16-2010, 02:06 PM   #21
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I remember the Salt Lake City opening ceremony and it was nothing compared to Canada's Vancouver opening. I was really happy to see our First Nations brothers and sisters in Canada get to be honored in that manner and I hope the U.S. takes notice. I dvr'd it and am so glad that I did. I thought I saw Carol M.T. in there too! Too awesome the way the dancers were incorporated into Nellie Furtado and Brian Adams song!
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:52 PM   #22
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First Nations Slam-Poet Shane Koyczan

Poet from Yellowknife becomes overnight sensation after Olympics monologue - Winnipeg Free Press

Poet from Yellowknife becomes overnight sensation after Olympics monologue
By: Nick Patch, THE CANADIAN PRESS

13/02/2010 6:38 PM

VANCOUVER, B.C. - As Shane Koyczan stood obscured behind a curtain atop B.C. Place's centre stage on Friday, only then did it hit him.

The opening ceremonies. The Olympics. The billions of people who were about to listen to him deliver his poem, "We Are More," while preaching from a platform raised high in the air.

For a moment, he had to consider his options.

"There's 60,000 people there, there's 3.5 billion people watching around the world - that's a lot," Koyczan told The Canadian Press.

"And that thought didn't really occur to me until I was there and the curtain was about to drop. And I was like, 'Oh, wait a minute.' But then it was too late.

"I was, like, 'You either go for it, or jump."'

And so he went, delivering one of the ceremony's most talked-about moments without betraying a hint of the butterflies fluttering around in his queasy stomach.

During an artistic ceremony whose stated goal was to re-introduce Canada to the world, Koyczan's poem did so with both levity and grandeur. He drew rapturous applause for certain choice lines ("And some say what defines us is something as simple as please and thank you" was a particular hit with those in attendance) and ignited much discussion on Twitter.

"Wow wow wow, that speech/rap about Canada was powerful! Tears in my eyes," tweeted Canadian figure-skating world champion Jeffrey Buttle.

The day after the spectacular ceremony, Koyczan was still a hot topic online as links to his speech ricocheted through the usual social networking sites. Even his uniquely arranged facial hair - which sprouts from his jawline and extends down inches below his face - was up for debate.

"The guy doing spoken word looks funny with the neck beard, but his poem was amazing!" contributed one user.

Those watching Koyczan deliver the hip-hop inflected verse with cool aplomb might not have realized how nervous he was. And it certainly wasn't obvious to those at home just how far he has come.

Born to a French mother and a father of First Nations heritage, Koyczan grew up in Yellowknife, where he was raised by his grandparents.

He said he doesn't know much about his mother and has only recently begun trying to forge a relationship with his father.

Growing up, he was bullied relentlessly. He moved to Penticton, B.C., when he was 14, at which point he says he hadn't really developed social skills, so the bullying began anew.

He first began writing as a way to deal with his social awkwardness.

"Not knowing how to speak to people, I decided it might be best to go home and write some prepared speeches," he recalled.

"Because somebody would ask me a question like, 'How's it going?' Which I realize now is a very benign question, but at the time, it was: 'Oh my god. I can't believe this person just talked to me.'

"So I'd go home and write prepared speeches so when people would be like, 'How's it going?' I'd be like, 'Cheese is my favourite food and I'll tell you why."'

He ended up in drama class after a different program was cancelled. He wasn't thrilled but soon discovered a talent. He started doing stage plays, many of which were comedies.

"Before, people would be like: 'Hey, fat ***.' And now they'd be like, 'Hey, you're that funny fat guy,"' he said.

"I guess that's a compliment."

His passion for writing - and soon poetry - grew in university, where professors encouraged him to start performing.

"I think for a long time, being as badly bullied as I was, I was under the assumption that it's not OK for me to be a certain way, it's not OK for me to say what's on my mind or what I'm thinking, because I'm just going to be beat worse for it," he said.

"Living in fear like that, I think one of the things that really turned it around was getting into those writing classes and learning how to express myself in a way that was not only a creative outlet but an emotional one for me."

As his notoriety grew, the Canadian Tourism Commission approached him about writing a love poem for Canada. He happily obliged, though his initial attempts were, um, not quite right.

"My first take on it was that I love to complain about the government," he said. "But I guess that wasn't really what they were looking for."

The piece he ultimately wrote finds him nodding to various stereotypes of Canada (the politeness, the affinity for hockey, the maple syrup, beer and wheat) while emphasizing that there's plenty more that isn't necessarily associated with Canadians - that "more" of the poem's title.

"I'm just telling people, we're more than what the world thinks of us," he explains. "We're more than the jokes that are made about us being able to pronounce vowels. We're more than the butt of a joke. We're more than the cliche."

Koyczan said the poem is about what he loves about Canada and Canadian people, and what he hopes for his country.

The genial, soft-spoken 34-year-old said he arrived in Vancouver a week before the speech and said that he managed several hours sleep - in total - over those seven nights.

And he wrestled with the idea of performing, not simply because of nerves. He has serious misgivings about the current Canadian government, specifically with the decision to cut arts programs.

But ultimately, he found he couldn't turn down the chance of a lifetime.

"I just kept repeating to myself what my grandmother said to me: once you say no to an opportunity, it's gone, and so are all the opportunities that could have come with it," he said.

It was difficult but he went through with it, and he's glad.

"It was a moment I can't even define in my life right now. I think I still need to process it. It was an absolute honour to be a part of it."
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:12 PM   #23
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Text of Shane Koyczan's opening ceremonies poem, "We Are More" - Winnipeg Free Press

Text of Shane Koyczan's opening ceremonies poem, "We Are More"
By: THE CANADIAN PRESS

"Define Canada

You might say the home of the Rocket

Or The Great One

Who inspired little No. 9s and little No. 99s

But we're more than just hockey and fishing lines

Off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes

And some say what defines us

Is something as simple as 'please' and 'thank you'

And as for 'you're welcome,' well, we say that, too

But we are more than genteel or civilized

We are an idea in the process of being realized

We are young, we are cultures strung together then woven into a tapestry

And the design is what makes us more than the sum totals of our history

We are an experiment going right for a change

With influences that range from A to Zed

And yes, we say 'Zed' instead of 'Zee'

We are the brightness of Chinatown and the laughter of Little Italy

We dream so big that there are those

Who would call our ambition an industry

Because we are vineyards of good year after good year

We reforest what we clear

Because we believe in generations beyond our own

Knowing now that so many of us

Have grown past what we used to be

We can stand here today

Filled with all the hope people have

When they say things like 'someday'

Because we are more

Than a laundry list of things to do and places to see

More than hills to ski

Or countryside ponds to skate

We are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait

We are first-rate greasy spoon diners and healthy living cafes

A country that is all the ways you choose to live

A nation that can give you variety

Because we are choices

We are millions upon millions of voices

Shouting, keep exploring

We are more

We are the surprise the world has in store for you, it's true

Canada is the 'what' in 'what's new'

So don't let your luggage define your travels

Each life unravels differently

And experiences are what make up

The colours of our tapestry

We are the true North

Strong and free

And what's more

Is that we didn't just say it

We made it be"
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:17 PM   #24
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"We Are More" poem transcript recited by Shane Koyczan at opening ceremonies -

We Are More: Transcript of Olympic opening ceremony poem by Shane Koyczan
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Old 02-17-2010, 11:27 AM   #25
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I'll be watching the closing ceremony and recording it. Hope it's as good at the opening one!
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Old 02-17-2010, 11:28 AM   #26
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Beautiful. Thank you for posting all the words.
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:13 PM   #27
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The daughter of our very own Middle of the Sky was one of the dancers.....!!! And another was a good friend of Brown Eyed Gurl....
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:35 PM   #28
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Here's what was written in Indian Country Today newspaper:

Native representation strong at 2010 Olympics | Indian Country Today | ICT Global


Also included are the related comments.
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Old 02-18-2010, 07:29 AM   #29
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Old 02-18-2010, 03:19 PM   #30
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Two people have told me that a drum from Kalispel, Montana was invited for the opening, Does anybody know who they were?
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Old 02-18-2010, 03:28 PM   #31
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The Chief Cliff Singers
Here's a story about them that was posted on Indianz a while back.

Lake County Leader Archives News Page
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Old 02-18-2010, 03:48 PM   #32
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Here's another article with a little more info:
Char-Koosta News - Official Newspaper of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes - Chief Cliff Drum and Ktunaxa dancers to perform at Winter Olympics

Can someone please send me a ticket to Vancouver to go check it out on Friday?
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Old 02-18-2010, 11:32 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyo_rose View Post
Here's another article with a little more info:
Char-Koosta News - Official Newspaper of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes - Chief Cliff Drum and Ktunaxa dancers to perform at Winter Olympics

Can someone please send me a ticket to Vancouver to go check it out on Friday?
thats was a nice article Wyo, thx
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:31 AM   #34
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Anybody see badmaninc? I'm sure he was all up in the mix!
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:24 AM   #35
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Thanks Kakee and Wyo for sending the links about the Chief Cliff Drum group's participation! What a great opportunity!

It is interesting to learn that there are 2 Kootenai bands in the United States and 5 bands in Canada.

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There are always two sides to every story.....


What does everyone think about the Indigenous groups who are protesting and oppose the Winter Olympics being held on traditonal sites?
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:53 AM   #36
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Old 02-20-2010, 12:03 PM   #37
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Found this incredible photo! Click it to see it full size!

Great photo and he was dancing real good! Loved to see all the dancers at the Opening Ceremony. Am hoping for more at the closer.
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:46 PM   #38
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ya it was pretty kewl too see locals in there...my bestest g/f Garry was in there wearing fur and a cedar hat and carryin a drum..he loved the experience and said it was once in a lifetime for him and hes so glad he did it.
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Old 02-20-2010, 07:11 PM   #39
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so whos the dancer in the pic?
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:31 AM   #40
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It is interesting to learn that there are 2 Kootenai bands in the United States and 5 bands in Canada.
You might find it interesting too, that the Kutenai language isn't related to any other language.
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