Skiers on Jumbo Mountain in the Purcell Range, known to the Ktunaxa Nation as Qat’muk. (Jumbo Mountain Resort)

LETTER: Jumbo Valley is part of Ktunaxa territorial claim

Ktunaxa Nation Council responds to Tom Fletcher column

Re: The limits of Indigenous rights (B.C. Views, Nov. 6, 2017)

Tom Fletcher’s column regarding lessons learned from the Jumbo Glacier Resort Supreme Court of Canada ruling had multiple errors in fact. On behalf of the Ktunaxa Nation Council I make the following offer of correction.

Fletcher wrote that the Jumbo Valley – Qat’muk as it is known by Ktunaxa – was not in a “declared territory” and was not part of treaty negotiations.

In fact, the Kootenay Nation Land Claim and Declaration expressed the extent of Ktunaxa territory in British Columbia, an area including Qat’muk and the Jumbo Valley, in 1981. The 1993 Ktunaxa Nation’s Statement of Intent, the foundational document for every treaty negotiation table in B.C., expresses the same territorial boundary that includes Jumbo. Furthermore, the Jumbo Valley itself was subject to repeated discussions and expressions of interest at the treaty table by Ktunaxa for many years.

The article made a series of errors in the timeline of Ktunaxa efforts to protect Qat’muk. Ida Chong was not Aboriginal Relations Minister when Ktunaxa gave the Qat’muk Declaration to the provincial government in 2010. She received our delegation on behalf of the province as a Minister of the Crown, a task she executed with grace and aplomb.

Furthermore, Adrian Dix did not invite Ktunaxa Nation to the B.C. legislature in 2011. Ktunaxa Nation was coming to Victoria with Scott Niedermayer for the one-year anniversary of the Qat’muk Declaration and Dix agreed to support our efforts less than a week prior.

Fletcher implied that our efforts are financially supported by environmental organizations. In fact, Ktunaxa Nation produced and paid for the “expensive public relations and legal offensive” as well as “the national newspaper ads, glossy press materials, custom banners and a lavishly produced video” on our own.

None of these errors credit Ktunaxa with agency. Ktunaxa Nation Council pursued these objectives without the direction or invitation of any outside party.

Fletcher wrote that Qat’muk is a myth and a legend. However disappointed we may be with the Supreme Court’s ruling, the court did not dispute Ktunaxa spiritual beliefs and practices to be genuine and sincere.

Finally, the article referenced the “assertion of veto power.” Ktunaxa Nation have not asserted nor claimed veto power through its efforts to protect Qat’muk. The constant spectre of veto is not of our creation, however much it appears in the media.

If lessons are to be learned they should be based on facts.

Troy Sebastian, on behalf of Ktunaxa Nation, Lkwungen territory

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mount Cain planning a modified winter season for north Island ski and snowboarders

Skiing is a COVID-friendly activity, but shared public spaces require adjustment

Remote B.C. tourism lodge staffed for coastal clean up instead of wilderness tours

The Great Bear Rainforest is home to exotic wildlife — and international trash

BC Hydro responds to all-day North Island power outage complaints

Dear Editor, I understand the frustration an all-day power outage like the… Continue reading

Report Card: North Island Secondary School named fourth fastest-improving school by Fraser Institute

NISS is listed among a total of 22 schools that have shown improvement in the annual report.

Town of Port McNeill’s annual Halloween fireworks show cancelled

‘This has been a horrible year for having to cancel many things that are near and dear to us’

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

Long-term care need pressuring acute care in Comox Valley, Strathcona

Region could use a couple of large facilities for seniors on the north part of the Island

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Most Read