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Ktunaxa Nation Challenges BC Approval of Jumbo Resort

Resort would destroy the spiritual, cultural and environmental values of Qat'muk sacred area

by Ktunaxa Nation Council

Still image from the film Qat'muk: Where the Grizzly Bears go to Dance. To watch the video online: http://vimeo.com/31890388
Still image from the film Qat'muk: Where the Grizzly Bears go to Dance. To watch the video online: http://vimeo.com/31890388

Ktunaxa to Submit Application for Judicial Review of Jumbo Resort Approval

For Immediate Release
July 24, 2012
 
British Columbia - Today the Ktunaxa Nation announce their formal decision to apply for Judicial Review of the BC Government's recent approval of the Jumbo Glacier Resort. The resort would be built in the heart of what the Ktunaxa call Qat’muk (GOT MOOK), which is located an hour west of Invermere.
 
The home of Grizzly Bear Spirit, Qat’muk is vital to both Ktunaxa culture and the region’s environment. The BC Government’s approval of the resort in the heart of Qat’muk represents a desecration of a principal Ktunaxa sacred site, the potential undoing of Ktunaxa traditional spiritual and religious practices, and consequently a significant and unjustifiable violation of Ktunaxa constitutional rights.

According to the Ktunaxa creation account, Qat’muk is where Grizzly Bear Spirit was born, goes to heal itself, and returns to the spirit world. For the Ktunaxa, relying on the continuation of traditional spiritual and religious practices, 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.
 
"The Ktunaxa have a stewardship obligation and duty to the Grizzly Bear Spirit and Qat’muk," said Ktunaxa Nation Chair, Kathryn Teneese.
 
"Ktunaxa have been on record as being opposed to this resort since it was first proposed, principally on the spiritual importance of the Qat’muk area for Ktunaxa people, as well as the concerns for the protection of wildlife populations, biodiversity and water quality."
 
"Throughout the consultation process, the Ktunaxa Nation clearly and consistently indicated that proceeding with the resort would destroy the spiritual, cultural and environmental values of Qat’muk. Yet, they did not hear our words."
 
Despite considerable efforts made by the Ktunaxa to convey the cultural, spiritual and religious significance of Qat'muk, the BC Government approved the resort on March 20, 2012. Efforts by Ktunaxa included the release of the Qat'muk Declaration and Stewardship Principles (attached) and the release of the Schaffer Economic Report, which concluded that there was no net economic benefit to the region or the Province of BC.
 
"The resort was approved despite the strong evidence of the critical impact it would have upon our culture," continued Teneese. "We now have no other choice but to challenge the BC Government's decision making process. We feel that this decision will not stand in a court of law, and will be found to show that the BC Government did not make the correct decision in approving the resort in the heart of Qat'muk."
 
"We feel it is important to protect our culture at any cost," said Teneese. "However, this legal challenge is an expensive proposition to the Ktunaxa, and we are currently bearing this cost alone. As a result, we are inviting the public to contribute to our legal costs through our web site www.beforejumbo.com. There is also a second fund for visitors which will support the cultural activities and education related to Qat’muk. Donations to this fund qualify as charitable donations. We cannot issue tax receipts for the legal fund, but we can for all donations over $20 to the cultural activities fund. All contributions are greatly appreciated."
 
For more information on Qat'muk, or to donate money either to the legal action fund, or to the charitable activities fund, please visit: www.beforejumbo.com
 
Ktunaxa people have occupied the lands adjacent to the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers and the Arrow Lakes of British Columbia, Canada for more than 10,000 years. For more information on the Ktunaxa visit: www.ktunaxa.org
 
–30–
 
For Further Information Contact:
Garry Slonowski
Communications Manager
Ktunaxa Nation Council
250-919-2848
gslonowski@ktunaxa.org.
 

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