Ktunaxa establish refuge in Jumbo Valley by declaration
The Nelson Daily staff
The Ktunaxa Nation sent a 50-member delegation to Victoria on Monday, Nov. 15 to deliver a message to the Provincial Legislature.
In the Qat’muk Declaration and Stewardship Principles, the Ktunaxa Nation spells out their spiritual connection to the Jumbo Glacier Valley and establishes a refuge area and a buffer area.
The Ktunaxa declared:
• That, to fully protect the most sacred core of the Qat’muk area, a refuge area consisting of the upper part of the Jumbo valley is hereby established;
• That a buffer area consisting of the remainder of the Jumbo watershed is hereby established so that the Grizzly Bear Spirit, as well as grizzly bears, can thrive within and around Qat’muk;
• That the Ktunaxa Nation will share Qat’muk with non-Ktunaxa when such use is respectful of Ktunaxa spiritual values and consistent with our Qat’muk Stewardship Principles; and
• That the Ktunaxa Nation Council will prepare a management plan for the refuge and buffer areas based on the Qat’muk Stewardship Principles and in consultation with other governments and stakeholders.
The Ktunaxa Nation said they will continue to share the designated refuge area and buffer area with non-Ktunaxa when such use is respectful of Ktunaxa spiritual values and consistent with their Qat’muk Stewardship Principles.
The refuge and buffer areas will not be shared with those who engage in activities that harm or appropriate the spiritual nature of the area. These activities include, but are not limited to:
• the construction of buildings or structures with permanent foundations;
• permanent occupation of residences.
As a result of this declaration, the province will have to choose whether or not to challenge the Ktunaxa rights and title, entering into a potentially long and divisive court battle with implications for aboriginal relations throughout the province.