Olympic podium made from Ktunaxa wood returns home

Nic Milligan with Teck, Ktunaxa Nation Chair Kathryn Teneese and mayor Scott Manjak celebrate the return of the Ktunaxa podium. - Submitted
Nic Milligan with Teck, Ktunaxa Nation Chair Kathryn Teneese and mayor Scott Manjak celebrate the return of the Ktunaxa podium.
— image credit: Submitted

The Olympic Podium made with Ktunaxa wood is coming home. The podium was one of 23 that were used for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Through an initiative by the Ministry of Natural Resources, the podiums were made from 18 wood types donated from community forest operators and other forest licensees around the Province.

The Ktunaxa podium was made out of Western Larch (K’ustit’ in Ktunaxa), which is unique to the Ktunaxa Territory within BC. The wood was harvested from the Ktunaxa Nation Community Forest, which is managed by Nupqu Development Corporation. Nupqu (black bear in Ktunaxa), is a natural resource management business owned by the communities of the Ktunaxa Nation. The wood was then milled at the Tobacco Plains Saw Mill, readying it to be constructed into its finished form.

The podium’s homecoming was made possible through the generosity of Teck, one of the largest diversified mining companies in the world, with many operations located within the Ktunaxa Territory. Teck was able to work with Nupqu to develop a bid and secure the podium on behalf of the Ktunaxa Nation through the post-Olympic auction.

“Teck is very pleased to participate in returning the podium to the Territory out of recognition and respect for our relationship with the Ktunaxa Nation and its people,” said Nic Milligan, Manager of Community and Governmental Affairs. “As well, there is resonance in the fact that the medals awarded on the podium, built from wood from the territory, were made with metal supplied by Teck.”

Until a permanent home can be found within the Ktunaxa Territory, the podium will have a temporary location at the Canadian Rockies International Airport, where it will greet visitors in the arrival area.

“Cranbrook is honoured to have the Ktunaxa Olympic podium proudly displayed at the Canadian Rockies International Airport,” said Scott Manjak, mayor of the City of Cranbrook. “The Olympic podium is a great addition to the airport and will allow residents and visitors to relive the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic experience again and again.”

The podium was used at the Pacific Coliseum venue, which hosted team short track speed skating and pairs figure skating. Notable Canadian athletes that stood on the top by winning gold medals were the Hamelin Brothers - Charles and François - in short track speed skating, and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir for pairs ice dancing.

“For many, the airport is the gateway into the Ktunaxa Territory,” said Kathryn Teneese. “We are pleased we can share this piece of Canadian history with those who visit our Territory. The display of the podium at the airport also continues to build upon our relationship with the City of Cranbrook. Mayor Manjak has reached out to the Ktunaxa Nation through previous efforts such as the Reconciliation Sculpture, and the display of the Ktunaxa flag and history panels at the airport. We are very happy to provide this opportunity for visitors to the Canadian Rockies International Airport.”

“We also can’t say enough about the support that has been provided by Teck. They not only helped us to secure the podium on behalf of the Ktunaxa Nation, but they also sponsored our participation at the Aboriginal Pavilion during the Vancouver Games. They have shown their commitment to our efforts as a Nation on many occasions, and continue to be model corporate citizens.”

“We are grateful to both the City of Cranbrook and Teck for their continued support and partnerships, and we look forward to building upon these relationships in the future,”Teneese concluded.

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