With storytelling, dancing, singing and drumming, the Ktunaxa Nation spoke about the importance of Qat’muk on Friday, November 22 at a special event at Cranbrook’s Key City Theatre.
“We the people have joined together tonight to stand our ground and keep Jumbo wild,” said Bonnie Harvey during the event.
Qat’muk is the Ktunaxa name for the Jumbo valley, where a proposed four-season ski resort has been approved by the B.C. government. The Ktunaxa have been opposed to the development for the past 20 years.
Before a crowd of almost 500 people, the event began with a Ktunaxa elder telling his granddaughter why Qat’muk is so important to the Ktunaxa. The conversation was translated by former Ktunaxa Nation Chair Sophie Pierre.
The grizzly bear spirit comes to help the people when they dance and ask the spirit for guidance, he explained. Qat’muk is the land to which the grizzly bear returns when it dies, and it is the Ktunaxa’s responsibility to protect it.
Joe Pierre then shared several stories about the grizzly bear. The grizzly bear offers itself as a spiritual guide, protector and guardian to the people, he explained.
Renowned Columbia Valley mountaineer and photographer Pat Morrow and his wife Baiba then gave a photo presentation on the spiritual significance of mountains in different cultures all over the world, including in Nepal, Tibet, India, Bhutan and Japan.
“My health and wellbeing is dependent on being out there in the wild and wonderful,” said Pat. “If we don’t stand up for the things that are sacred to us, where would we be?”
“We are here in support of the Ktunaxa Nation and their efforts to stop this truly profane development in Ktunaxa territory,” said Baiba.
St. Mary’s Band member Bonnie Harvey spoke about the Ktunaxa’s application for a judicial review in the B.C. Supreme Court of the provincial government’s decision to enter into a Master Development Agreement with the developer of Jumbo Glacier Resort.
That judicial review will begin on Monday, January 6, 2014.
“We pray that our efforts will be positive in January,” said Bonnie.
Children from the Ktunaxa Nation then sang and danced on stage.
In the grand finale, flags from each of the Ktunaxa’s communities were walked on stage through the audience while children from Aqamnik School sang about Qat’muk.
As the event concluded, the audience gave a standing ovation to the performers.
A master development plan for the Jumbo Glacier Resort was approved by the B.C. government in March 2012. In February, Jumbo was incorporated as a mountain resort municipality.