AFN resolution calls for chiefs to boycott Calgary’s 2026 Olympic bid

John Furlong has advised Calgary city officials as they explore bidding for their second Winter Games.

First Nation chiefs are being asked to oppose Calgary’s bid for the 2026 Olympics as a show of support for some former residential and day school students.

The request came in the form of a resolution they’ll vote on next week at the Assembly of First Nations annual general assembly in Vancouver.

The resolution authored by Larry Nooski, chief of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation in B.C., is seconded by Jackie Thomas, chief of the Saik’uz First Nation.

Their communities are close to the northern B.C. town of Burns Lake, where some day school survivors from Lake Babine First Nation allege they were abused by former Vancouver Olympics boss John Furlong in 1969-70, when he was a young teacher at the Catholic school they were forced to attend.

Furlong, now chairman of Own The Podium and head of a bid advisory group created by the Canadian Olympic Committee, denies the students’ allegations – none of which have been tested or proven in court.

But Furlong is providing advice to Calgary city officials as they explore bidding for their second Winter Games and that’s why Nooski is asking the chiefs to support the survivors through his resolution.

The resolution asks chiefs to withhold “any and all support” for the Olympics bid “until justice has been served.”

Nooski told APTN News Thursday that he’s referring to the investigation by the Canadian Human Rights Commission into the way Prince George RCMP handled the survivors’ complaints, reported here.

Site of the former Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary School in Burns Lake, B.C.

APTN‘s requests for comment from the chair of Calgary’s Olympic Bid Assessment Committee and its bid corporation, Calgary 2026, were not returned Thursday.

Also, a spokesman said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi was not available for comment Thursday.

The AFN is a national lobby group that represents the chiefs of more than 600 First Nations in Canada, who first tackled the unproven allegations from the survivors in 2016.

They passed a resolution at that year’s annual general meeting asking the federal government to investigate because the “students have yet to be heard, some 45 years after the fact.”

But no federal investigation occurred.

The survivors also asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to remove Furlong as chair of Own The Podium, a government-funded committee that “determines investment strategies for national sport organizations in an effort to deliver more Olympic and Paralympic medals for Canada.”

That didn’t happen.

They then wrote to Nenshi in 2016 asking him to meet with them, but they say he didn’t respond.

Chiefs at the assembly in Vancouver will also be electing a new national chief.

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