Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


May 19, 2001 - Issue 36



Site Selected for Navajo Theme Park at 2002 Olympics


 by Nathan J. Tohtsoni The Navajo Times


grapics © 2001 Navajo 2002 Foundation

SALT LAKE CITY - Things could not have worked out better for the Navajo Nation's plans at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, officials said.

A site has been selected for the tribe's theme park in the Gateway Project, located in downtown Salt Lake City.

The tribal council allocated $1.75 million in 1998 for the Navajo Nation to be a part of the Olympics. Part of that money was used to obtain contractors to work on behalf of the Navajo Nation.

As a result, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games 2002 sanctioned the Navajo Nation to provide an interactive pavilion theme park in the 2002 Cultural Olympiad called "Discover Navajo 2002."

The one-block pavilion would allow the estimated 230,000 worldwide visitors to experience Navajo culture firsthand between Feb. 1, 2002 to Feb. 24, 2002.

An unsanctioned structure in the pavilion called the "Festival of Nations" would give other Native American tribes the opportunity to showcase their culture. The sanctioned part, "Discover Navajo: People of the Fourth World," would provide exhibits, museum and theater on Navajo culture only.

"We managed to secure our space in a great location," said Gerard McTernan, national show producer of TriMedia in Santa Fe.

TriMedia is subcontracted under primary contractor of David Sloan & Associates of Albuquerque to take care of the production aspects for the Navajo Nation.

The site is in the downtown area near Medals Plaza, where it's estimated 20,000 people will congregate each evening. Unlike in previous Olympics, the medals won't be distributed immediately after the events, but later in one ceremony.

"It's a monster accomplishment," McTernan said. "It's really great for us to be that close to it, especially with that many people coming downtown to see it."

Only about 15 percent of the $1.75 million appropriation has been used in obtaining the contractors and subcontractors. It is estimated that the pavilion would cost between $4 million to $4.5 million. The majority of the expenses are expected to come from sponsorships, grants and ticket admission.

Marilyn Ellingson, 2002 project coordinator, said a letter of intent has been signed but not a price for the lease.

"We haven't negotiated the contract yet, but we have agreed we will be there," she said. "It's a prime location for the sponsors and athletes because of the hospitality centers, so they're going to be walking right by us."

Tourism Division Director Fred White said the site was identified as an outstanding area more than two years ago because of its proximity to Medals Plaza, the ice skating venue and media center.

"This is the ideal site for our project," White said. "We have always hoped to be in a premiere location so we can introduce visitors to all that we have to offer."

Ellingson said several tribal members from the approximately 20,000 Navajos residing in the Salt Lake City area have contacted her at the city's tribal tourism office.

"They're very excited, "she said. "We have seen a great enthusiasm of how they can help us or how they can be volunteers."

All inquiries on the Navajo Nation's involvement or how to get involved, call (801) 521-3463 or For artisans' information, contact Roxanne Vise at (480) 513-8877.

Navajo 2002




  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.



The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.