An anonymous person has distributed a number of fliers purporting to be a map of the proposed lands being offered to the Ktunaxa Nation under the ongoing Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty negotiations.
But the B.C. Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation says they are fakes, as the province, federal government and the Ktunaxa Nation have not agreed to release any maps at this point in negotiations.
“Treaty settlement lands have not been finalized at this stage,” confirmed Robin Platts, communication manager for the ministry. “It sounds like an individual that doesn’t represent any of the three parties appears to have drawn a map and mailed it out.”
The three stakeholders held a public meeting in October that was attended by about 50 people with Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski, the Ktunaxa Nation and two negotiators presenting. The public heard that 33,458 hectares of land has been offered to the First Nation and that after 20 years of talks, the three parties are close to signing an Agreement in Principal.
The public was shown a series of maps at the meeting showing the land proposed to come under Ktunaxa governance, but they were not released to the public or media. Platts said this is not unusual at this stage in treaty negotiations and some information will remain confidential until there are more concrete details to deliver to the public.
“The Agreement in Principal is under development,” he said. “A certain amount of the process is going to be confidential.”
The circulating maps are not complete, and Platts isn’t sure how they were produced.
“It looks like someone drew it from memory,” he said.
While Platts did not see a copy of the map, he did say it appears to suggest that the lands, should they be handed over to the Ktunaxa, would be inaccessible to recreational users. He said that simply isn’t the case, but stressed that nothing is set in stone yet.
“These things are always a bit of an evolution,” he said.
Platts said the decision to not release the maps yet was something agreed upon by all three parties in the negotiations because the boundaries are not confirmed and are very far from being official.
Instead of relying on the crudely drawn map, Platts is encouraging anyone with concerns to contact any one of the three representative from the negotiations. At the public meeting in October, three points of contact were offered for anyone with questions. They are: Diane Gielis, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, 1-800-665-9320; Bill Armstrong, B.C. Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, 1-800-880-1022 and Garry Slonowski, Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty Council, 250-919-2848.