Ktunaxa Nation presents application for judicial review

While members of the Ktunaxa Nation gathered in Cranbrook, a similar group did the same in Vancouver.

Ktunaxa drummers marched with the protest.

While members of the Ktunaxa Nation gathered in Cranbrook, a similar group did the same in Vancouver where they officially filed an application for a judicial review of the Jumbo Glacier Resort.

The Ktunaxa are seeking a review of the resort’s master development plan, which was approved in March of this year.

The Jumbo Glacier Resort, which was granted Mountain Resort Municipality status in November, would be built in the heart of what the Ktunaxa call Qat’muk, home of the Grizzly Bear Spirit. The Ktunaxa say building the year-round ski resort would destroy the nation’s spiritual values.

“Jumbo Resort, if built, will forever destroy the connection Ktunaxa have with Qat’muk,” said Kathryn Teneese, Ktunaxa Nation Chair. “It will sever this special and significant relationship that we have developed with that land for countless generations.”

And so the Ktunaxa launched another challenge in their 20-year history of opposing the project. Teneese said the Ktunaxa people have over come enormous challenges to keep their culture alive, and preserving Qat’muk is an important step for them.

“Ktunaxa have been the victim of residential schools, and attempts to systematically destroy our culture and heritage. We had to hide our language, culture and spiritual beliefs away, simply in order to save them,” Teneese said. “We have kept our most precious beliefs a secret, in accordance with our laws and in order to protect and preserve them for future generations of Ktunaxa.

“Now, after overcoming these incredible adversities, working to develop our nation, and getting to a place where we are starting to see some real successes, we are faced with the reality that the B.C. government is once again trying to destroy something vital to who we are as a people,” Teneese said.

Even though the Jumbo Glacier Resort is set to become a municipality in February, 2013, Teneese said the First Nation will continue their fight.

“I can tell you with all my conviction, that Ktunaxa will never allow themselves to be damaged as a people, ever again. Nobody has the right to take away what is rightfully ours. The fight to save Qat’muk is far from over, and it’s long overdue that we start asking harder questions of the BC Government, and challenge their process.”