During the entire two weeks of the 1998 Olympic Winter Cames I was off to Nagano. I came face to face with my distint cousins, the Japanese. I loved Nagano, it’s hard to believe during the nuclear era, a bomb fell on Hiroshima wiping it out Later there would Nagano. It would bring nations together to the land of the rising sun.

Funny I never saw the fiery orange sun.

I saw snowy landscapes much like mine. I was up before dawn to watch the games, to cheer Canada.

Of course, we humans haven’t changed much since our days in the caves. We still do things backwards. I was dumbfounded to see one of our greatest players sitting on the bench, he could have scored. I give you the benefit of the doubt the great one could have put the puck in the net. We missed out on the gold because Wayne was sitting on the bench. I saw his face when they Tost the game in the shootout.

It was that of disappointment and much more. It also showed sympathy, understanding and tenderness towards others.

No matter what we achieve throughout our lifetime, gentleness and goodness are the most helpful influences of goodwill. We all became conscious of all the good things Wayne is. He showed interest and concern for the people he met and in the people at Nagano.

I must say that showed character. I would rather have that than gold.

As an old Native proverb said “Everything on earth has a purpose, every disease has a herb to cure, and every person a mission.”

I noticed a lot of talk about identity during the games. Keeping culture intact and the fact that

there were so many Canadian flags and where were the Quebec ones? I noticed the speed skater fromQuebec smiling even though it was the Canadain flag rising higher. Still smiling she rose and waved to the people of all races there.

I was moved by two young Canadian figure skaters, Victor and his beautiful partner. There were questions of the judges violating the rules and the word was that the ice dances were fixed. It’s said that one out of ten kids want to be figure skaters and here was evidence that two outstanding young people were victims. They challenged those judges in order to promote fairness in their sport. This they did for it’s future. They did it for the individual men and women who made it great.

My favorite at the games was Elvis. Even though he was sick he still came in second.

And lastly but not least the feature on drugs. The main character, our first gold medal winner put attention on Canada again. It was bad press. Political and social pressures are always there in the Olympics.

My father used to make a sled from birch when the snow was wet. We didn’t use nails. I will never forget that.

I’m sure that I will never forget that young man, who won Canda its first gold in Nagano.

I was also taken by this young small, very small Japanese speed skater. He was told he was too small to go into speed skating.

But his success was simple, he had speed. I saw him shaking hands with royalty.

I think the main lesson is if we want to be a strong Cree Nation, we have to have characterand perseverance like the Olympians.