Ktunaxa and Qat’muk
In 2010, the Ktunaxa Nation traveled to the BC legislature in Victoria to deliver the Qat’muk Declaration. Qat’muk is the Ktunaxa name of the lands that include the area of the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort. It is within the core of the Ktunaxa Nation territory and we understand that it is the home of grizzly bear spirit. The Declaration outlines the spiritual significance of Qat’muk and is an expression of Ktunaxa sovereignty and stewardship principles. Read the Declaration here.
Kathryn Teneese, Ktunaxa Nation Chair: “The Ktunaxa have been opposed to this development for over 20 years. We have tried to explain to provincial ministers and other government representatives that Qat’muk is of profound spiritual and cultural importance to our nation and that the resort will desecrate the area and undermine beliefs and practices at the core of Ktunaxa culture and identity.”
Read this 3-part interview series with ʔaq̓am Chief Joe Pierre on the importance of Qat’muk to the Ktunaxa.
Supreme Court Challenge
The Ktunaxa Nation appealed the BC government approval of the Jumbo Glacier Resort, alleging that their religious freedoms were violated when the government approved a massive ski resort development in the heart of Qat’muk, their sacred territory. The case was heard in the Supreme Court of Canada in December 2016. The disappointing ruling confirmed that our legal system does not yet recognize and protect the sacred nature of land, fundamental to indigenous spirituality. The decision did not, however, give the green light for the project to proceed.
In March 2017, we delivered a petition to the transboundary Ktunaxa Nation with 61,526 signatures in support of the Qat’muk Declaration and permanent protection of the Jumbo Valley. We later presented this petition to the BC government.
In January 2020, the Jumbo Valley and surrounding area was declared as the site for Canada’s newest Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area.
Now and forever, Qat’muk will be safe in a special Indigenous protected area, declared today by the Ktunaxa Nation with the support of our federal and provincial governments.
The Ktunaxa Nation and the Province of British Columbia are now creating an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area in Qat’muk, the Ktunaxa people’s sacred landscape that includes the Jumbo Valley. Our governments have finally recognized the Ktunaxa’s rights to protect Qat’muk and its beating heart in the Jumbo Valley.
The Qat’muk protected area will be much more than just the Jumbo Valley. Stretching over an anticipated 700 square kilometres of Purcell Mountain wilderness, the protected area will include glaciers, rocky peaks, rushing rivers, dense forests and deep mountain valleys spreading out in all directions from Jumbo. To the south, it will connect with the vast Purcell Wilderness Conservancy, giving grizzly bears and creatures of all kinds an expanse of connected habitat with few equals in Southern Canada.
We sat down with Ktunaxa Nation Chair Kathryn Teneese to talk about their vision of ecological balance, how people can enjoy a special place while treading lightly, and Qat’muk as a first step towards reconciliation, after the IPCA was announced. Read more here.
To learn more about the announcement, see this story in The Star.