In the beginning, according to Kootenay archaeologist Wayne Choquette, the Ktunaxa (Kootenay) peoples arrived as the great glaciers melted. Being gatherers/hunters, they were following the herds into new ice-free lands. Their pre-history territory was far larger in all directions than now. However, after suffering the ravages of the foreigners airborne communicable diseases that preceded contact, like all indigenous populations, their population was greatly reduced. Ktunaxa survivors all moved close to the Purcell Mountains at that time, a safe place. They welcomed their distant cousins, the remnant Peigan (Blackfoot), and later their shirttail relatives, the Shuswap (Kinbasket). The greatly reduced Ktunaxa territory became what it is today all the drainages of the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers.
Since the Jumbo Glacier Resort first came to light, the Ktunaxa Nation has often publicly reiterated: We affirm our responsibility given by Creator to protect Mother Earth from which generations of Ktunaxa people survived only because of the respect and utilization of what she offered to our people.
Living traditional spiritual beliefs that uphold their laws and lifeways is the Ktunaxa culture. Our provincial government is generally based on parliamentary protocol which means, among other things, that when judicial decisions are made, they are made for the greatest good and, with very few exceptions, defer to business as usual/follow the money and that, of late, equates with for-profit corporations.
Living with traditional Christian, capitalist and consumer beliefs that uphold our laws and lifeways is our dominant culture.
Jumbo Glacier Resort proponent/developer Oberto Oberti immigrated to Vancouver in 1974. He was born and raised in Milan, one of Italys largest financial, industrial, polluted, unnatural concrete jungles. Milan is Italys second largest city.
I met Mr. Oberto Oberti in 2004 after our protest march (the largest in Nelson since Vietnam) at the Open House the Environmental Assessment Office obliged him to hold. Looking directly into his eyes I said, The Jumbo Valley area is sacred! He quickly responded, Yes, thats why I want to develop it so the world can come.
This, from someone who believes that to be really sacred, the sacred needs human enhancement and development. Quickly, he thrust, You locals just dont like crowds! This, from a completely crowd-conditioned, nature-deprived city slicker.
Many years ago my old friend Red Cloud Laboucane, said it was time for a cross cultural fertilization. Surely an idea whose time now has come. Can we not learn qualities from all cultures that promote consciously caring for not only our beloved Planet Earth, but one another? And perhaps its time Canada emulates other nations by giving constitutional rights to Earth. As well, we add: No development zones in thriving habitats.
Rowena Eloise, Argenta
West Kootenay Coalition
for Jumbo Wild