In this essay I examine how Indigenous artists and performers leveraged Indigenous inclusion in Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympic Games to refuse conditions that spectacularize Indigeneity for the consumptive appetite of settler-spectators. Their refusals, I suggest, called upon settler-spectators to reorient their placement on Indigenous land: to move from understanding themselves as citizens of a postcolonial nation-state celebrated through Olympic (inter)nationalism, to settlers (still) occupying unceded Indigenous territory. I critique how settler subjectivity and settler colonial relations have historically been produced through non-Indigenous people engaging with Indigenous people and political expression as spectators, enjoying the privilege and presumption of consuming and looking at Indigenous people and art. To be called into a different relation by Indigenous art and performance that refuses our spectatorship, we are called upon to relinquish our position as spectators, to identify ourselves as settlers, and to reorient ourselves temporally, spatially, and politically to Indigenous peoples and land. The positioning of Indigenous art and performance as refusals within and against the Olympics, the ultimate spectacle of statehood and inclusion, intensified their potency. Refusing and revising the spectacle, they playfully and powerfully unsettled settler-spectators and settler colonial conditions.
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Baloy, Natalie J.K., "Our Home(s) and/on Native Land: Spectacular Re-Visions and Refusals at Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympic Games" (2016). Staff Scholarship. 1.