Ktunaxa Nation vows to continue fight to protect Qat’muk
Members of the Ktunaxa Nation are deeply saddened by yesterday’s Supreme Court of British Columbia’s decision to dismiss its challenge of the Province’s approval of a Master Development Agreement for Jumbo Glacier Resort.
The proposed resort would be built in the heart of the area the Ktunaxa call Qat’muk, an area of profound spiritual importance to the Ktunaxa people.
Qat’muk is where the Grizzly Bear Spirit was born, goes to heal itself, and returns to the spirit world. For the Ktunaxa, Grizzly Bear Spirit is a unique and indispensable source of collective as well as individual guidance, strength, and protection. Qat’muk’s importance for Grizzly Bear Spirit is inextricably interlinked with its importance for living grizzly bears now and in the future.
“It is difficult to describe how disappointed and frustrated we are with the Supreme Court of British Columbia’s decision. We knew from the start that the Canadian courts would find it difficult to understand our distinct cultural and spiritual beliefs and values, particularly our relationship with Qat’muk,” said Kathryn Teneese, Ktunaxa Nation Chair. “The Court’s dismissal of our challenge while conceding that this proposed development will have a significant impact on our Ktunaxa spiritual practices speaks volumes to the challenges First Nations face when trying to assert their rights. Ktunaxa people existed and exercised our spiritual rights in our territory long before the establishment of the Canadian legal system.
“Despite this setback, we will continue to explore every avenue to stop development in the heart in Qat’muk. We will be engaging with our citizens, leadership and legal team to explore our next steps,” continued Teneese. “We will also continue our development of a Qat’muk management plan that is consistent with our role as stewards of the land. Our resolve is stronger than ever and we will continue to stand our ground.”
For more information on Qat’muk, or to read the Qat’muk declaration, please visit www.qatmuk.com or www.facebook.com/qatmuk. To read the British Columbia Supreme Court’s decision, visit http://courts.gov.bc.ca/supreme_court.