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

Walnut Park rebuild on track for September 2021 opening

On top of renovations the new building will contain a daycare with 42 childcare spots

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

Seabridge Gold starts drilling along proposed tunnel route north of Stewart

Twin tunnels will connect the KSM mine to its mill and tailings site

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

Northern Indigenous cannabis cultivation facility to supply over 60 private B.C. stores

Construction to soon resume on Nations Cannabis in Burns Lake

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

B.C. businessman David Sidoo gets 3 months behind bars for college admissions scam

Sidoo was sentenced for hiring someone take the SATs in place of his two sons

PHOTOS: Inside a newly-listed $22M mega-mansion on ALR land in B.C.

The large home, located on ALR land, is one of the last new mansions to legally be built on ALR land

Thousands of dollars in stolen rice found in B.C. warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

COVID-19 gives B.C. First Nation rare chance to examine tourism’s impact on grizzly bears

With 40 infrared cameras deployed in Kitasoo-Xai’Xais territory, research will help develop tourism plan with least impact on bears

Most Read