CPAWS-BC Statement of support for the Ktunaxa Nation’s Qat’muk Declaration
Six years ago the Ktunaxa Nation Council, on the behalf of the Ktunaxa Nation, released a declaration affirming their cultural and spiritual connection to Qat’muk and to Kⱡawⱡa Tukⱡuⱡakʔis. Qat’muk is where the Grizzly Bear Spirit was born, goes to heal itself and returns to the spirit world. They declared that in accordance with their Law, ʔaknumu¢tiŧiŧ, they have an obligation to protect their sacred places for future generations as part of an ongoing relationship with the land.
Qat’muk is currently under threat. For almost two decades now a ski resort, Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort, has been proposed for the Qat’muk area. If constructed it would do irreparable damage to the region’s ecosystem, and degrade the spiritual value of this area. As a result, the Ktunaxa Nation Council launched a legal challenge before the BC Superior Court in 2013, stating that the proposed resort infringed on their freedom of religion, as protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In their declaration the Ktunaxa called on “Other governments, non-governmental organizations, business proponents, local communities, and others to support and respect our spiritual traditions and practices linked to Qat’muk, and to help protect it against desecration and destruction.” In response to their call, we at CPAWS-BC offer our support to the Ktunaxa Nation and stand in solidarity in asking the provincial government to not approve this project. Furthermore we support the Ktunaxa Nation Council’s plan for Qat’muk to be declared a refuge and protected in accordance with their principles of stewardship.
We celebrate the Ktunaxa Nation’s commitment over many years to protect Qat’muk and wish them all the best as they head to court this week. Let’s hope that the long struggle will soon be over and that Qat’muk will be preserved for many generations to come.
To learn more about Qat'muk, the proposed project and ways to support the Ktunaxa in their fight, visit: www.keepitwild.ca.