By Terry Hadley
Spirit of Vancouver House at The Bay
Four Host First Nations logo designer Jody Broomfield, Coast Salish artist, said his Olympic experience began when he was mysteriously picked up by Tewanee Joseph, executive director, Four Host First Nations Society, and taken to the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) office.
Speaking at Vancouver House at The Bay, Broomfield recalled how he felt when he was told there that he had won the logo contest out of 36 artists’ submissions.
“Wow, I couldn’t express myself; I was lost for words,” he said.
And the loss for words went on into the Opening Ceremonies, when the emblem was projected across the floor. “I knew it was going to be big but when I saw it across the BC Stadium field, there were tears of pride!” recalled Broomfield, who went on to describe its symbolism: the four identical faces showing how everyone looks the same, “no matter what culture they are from;” the feathers pointing to all the directions of the world to welcome international visitors; the ancestors looking down at you wherever you are, and the “sacred circle holding all that goodness together.”
“The logo was seen by 3.5 billion people – it can’t get much bigger than that for me,” he said.
Broomfield felt the acceptance and sharing of cultures was an important legacy of the 2010 Winter Games and a turning point in Canada’s history.
“There was a sense of pride for us. Our culture has always been there but to share it with all those people… Tewanee Joseph took it upon himself to go to almost every First Nations community across Canada… there is a lot pride for us. Our practices and culture were banned, now we can share it and it’s definitely something I can share with my daughter.”
Broomfield also praised Premier Gordon Campbell. “This will be a kick start to the future and it’s definitely opened eyes in the provincial and federal governments – and hats off to Premier Gordon Campbell,” he said.
Broomfield also recounted how he exhibited at the First Nations Pavilion at Vancouver Community College, where over 100 artists from across Canada displayed their works of art, attracting 10,000 visitors on just one Saturday between opening 10 a.m. opening to 10 p.m. closing
He also managed to visit the Athletes Village, where the hockey team were given red Four Host Nations ties which he spotted on two coaches during the game. “And I was truly honoured,” he said. “I’m truly grateful my logo was selected and for the opportunity to meet all those great people.”