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Posted: May 26, 2015

Ktunaxa call for religious freedoms to be upheld

The Ktunaxa Nation is headed to the British Columbia Court of Appeal in its effort to protect Ktunaxa freedom of religion guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and protected by Section 35 of the Constitution of Canada.

The Ktunaxa Nation is appealing the April 3, 2014 Supreme Court of British Columbia decision that found building a large ski resort in a sacred area known as Qat’muk would not interfere with Ktunaxa spiritual beliefs and practices. The Ktunaxa have consistently said otherwise.

The ski resort in question is Glacier Resort Ltd.’s long-proposed 6,250-bed project for the Jumbo Valley, 55 km west of Invermere.

To mark this latest step, a media event will take place on the steps of the Court of Appeal building (Vancouver’s Smithe St. & Hornby St.) on Friday, May 29.

A delegation of Ktunaxa Nation representatives, including elected leadership, will gather on the steps of the Court of Appeal prior to the hearing to speak on the importance of this case and its potential impact on all Canadians.

The Ktunaxa Nation has never extinguished Aboriginal Title within their territory, and government has a legal obligation to consult about and accommodate impacts upon Ktunaxa interests, the Ktunaxa Nation outlined in a May 26 press release.

“The Ktunaxa have lived in their territory since time immemorial and have a deep spiritual connection to the animal world and, in particular, to the grizzly bear. Qat’muk is a very special place where the Grizzly Bear Spirit was born, goes to heal itself, and returns to the spirit world. The Grizzly Bear Spirit is an important source of guidance, strength, protection and spirituality for the Ktunaxa. Qat’muk’s importance for the Grizzly Bear Spirit is inextricably interlinked with its importance for living grizzly bears and Ktunaxa spiritual beliefs and practices now and in the future,” the release explained.

You can learn more about the Qat’muk by visiting: www.qatmuk.com

Lead image: Hundreds of people took part in a Qat’muk rally in Cranbrook on Nov. 30, 2012. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW file photo

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