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News Releases


RBC recognizes Aboriginal Torchbearers for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay

VANCOUVER, B.C., October 15, 2009 — RBC today announced the names of more than 150 Aboriginal people who have been given the opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.

On October 30 in Victoria, B.C., the Olympic Flame will begin its 45,000 kilometre journey across Canada, visiting over 1000 communities, including 119 Aboriginal areas. RBC is a presenting sponsor of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.

Aboriginal Torchbearers selected by RBC come from every region and age group across Canada. Torchbearers were recognized for their contributions as part of a team or for their outstanding individual efforts.

"RBC is proud to sponsor the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay and give all Canadians the opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame," said Graham MacLachlan, RBC regional president for British Columbia. "Today, we are pleased to celebrate the rich and diverse Aboriginal culture in Canada and encourage many of them to pursue their Olympic dreams."

The Team Torchbearer program was created for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay to provide teams with the opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame and be recognized for making a difference in their community through teamwork. Three of RBC's Aboriginal team torchbearer spots include:

  • First Nations Snowboard Team - Established in 2004, the team strives to improve the quality of life for youth through its innovative snowboarding programs. Experienced snowboard athletes are prepared to compete at provincial, national and international levels, while their recreational program trains snowboarders for entry level competitions. The First Nations Snowboard Team also operates an outreach program which enables elite snowboarders to inspire and mentor athletes in the high performance and recreational programs.

  • Dolphus Nitsiza - Mr. Nitsiza won the RBC Local Hockey Leaders award for Hockey North. Mr. Nitsiza, from Behchoko, Northwest Territories, is a volunteer who works tirelessly to make hockey accessible to young people in northern Canada, where travel costs become an obstacle for kids hoping to play hockey. Every Saturday morning he drives many kilometres to pick up the kids to take them to hockey games and practices. Mr. Nitisiza will carry the Torch along with 19 members of his hockey community.

  • John Baptiste Sewepagaham School - This school represents a remote and Cree speaking population in the community of Fox Lake, Alberta. Fox Lake is a unique First Nations Reserve that has held on to its culture, traditions and language. JBS was awarded a team torchbearer spot in the RBC 2010 Olympic Torch Relay School Team Torchbearer Spot Contest. Their students and staff pledged to make Canada a better place by promoting healthy lifestyles and awareness of diabetes. JBS students and staff are promoting health and exercise by participating in Running Club, Hip Hop and Volleyball and by participating in the Diabetes Walk each year.

Many notable Aboriginal people will also participate as 2010 Olympic Torchbearers,including:

  • Phil Fontaine - Mr. Fontaine recently completed an unprecedented third term as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). He is a dedicated and highly respected leader in Canada and beyond. He has been instrumental in facilitating change and advancement for First Nations people from the time he was first elected to public office as Chief when he was 28 years old. Fontaine is a proud member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba and still plays an active role in the support of his community. He is currently a special advisor to RBC.

    "RBC is giving many Aboriginal Canadians the chance to tell their unique stories to the rest of Canada and the entire world. It is a wonderful opportunity for our people o share, participate and represent their communities in the Olympic Torch Relay. I am grateful to have been associated with this initiative through RBC and the Assembly of First Nations," said Mr. Fontaine.

  • Ojibway Elder Lillian McGregor - Ms. McGregor has served numerous organizations as a board member or Elder. Originally from Whitefish River First Nation in Birch Island, Ontario, Dr. McGregor is a former nurse who most recently served as an elder-in-residence at the University of Toronto. She is also a member of the Order of Ontario.

  • Wilton Littlechild - Dr. Littlechild is a lawyer, athlete and international advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples around the world. Born on the Ermineskin Cree Reserve near Hobbema, Alberta, Dr. Littlechild became the first Treaty First Nation person to earn a law degree from the University of Alberta and the first to be elected as a Member of Parliament. He currently serves on the Government of Canada's Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

- 30 -

For more information or interviews contact:
Matt Gierasimczuk, Media Relations, 416-974-2124, matthew.gierasimczuk@rbc.com


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10/15/2009 10:38:50