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Indigenous leaders have ruled out asking the Australian Olympic Committee to formally complain against Russian ice skaters who are set to perform a controversial ''Aboriginal dance'' at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver next month.
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council held discussions with the AOC this week over the possibility of it approaching its counterpart in Moscow and demanding that Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin drop the routine.
But the council decided the dance - which the duo performed to win the European championships last weekend - is offensive rather than illegal and will ask the skaters to amend it rather than have it banned.
The council's chairwoman, Bev Manton, said: ''We had considered asking the Australian Olympic Committee to intervene on behalf of Aboriginal people … but the fact is, the performance by Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, while offensive to Aboriginal people, is not illegal.
"It's also not unprecedented. Aboriginal culture is disrespected in Australia every day, in fact in many ways that's become a cultural norm. The refusal of our Government to end the climbing of Uluru is a case in point.''
Ms Manton urged the pair to ditch their dark coloured skin suits, adorned with feathers and leaves, while performing. ''All we can do is repeat our earlier calls for Ms Domnina and Mr Shabalin to rethink their performance.''
The council also invited the dancers to visit Australia and meet indigenous elders so they could gain a better understanding of Aboriginal culture.
The furore surrounding the dance has also reached Vancouver, where Olympic chiefs are keen to ensure the Games respect the traditions of the four First Nations indigenous peoples from the territories where events will take place.
Tewanee Joseph, the director of Four Host First Nations, set up to represent the Canadian aboriginal people to organisers, has written to the skaters, offering them ''the opportunity to meet with local indigenous people''.