I’m writing about the recent Qat’muk/Jumbo announcement. As someone who dedicated 20-plus years of my activist life to the Jumbo Wild campaign, I find the coverage of this event disturbing.
The West Kootenay Coalition for Jumbo Wild was an integral part of the campaign to preserve the wilderness values of the Central Purcells. Activists like Kim Kratky, Suzy Hamilton, Rowena Eloise, Matt Lowe and Sinixt Nation were deeply involved when I joined up in the late 1990s. I find it interesting that media hasn’t sought out our opinions on this announcement. I am also dismayed that the media has overlooked the fact that the Jumbo Valley – Piq-s-mx=ikn (Place of the female white grizzly) — is claimed by the Sinixt.
Sinixt were key participants in this campaign long before the Ktunaxa ever became involved. The Ktunaxa’s expansionist land claims in Sinixt tum’xula7xw are a form of lateral violence that perpetuates the bureaucratic extinction of Sinixt. It is another significant blow to Sinixt resurgence from extinction. According to the land claims process, there aren’t supposed to be settlements in areas of contention. As Sinixt have filed a land claim, that means there is contention. Despite the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, the colonially unrecognized are still ignored.
While I applaud the cancellation of Glacier Resort’s glacier-skiing fantasy, I cannot do a happy dance over the fact Sinixt lands were handed over to Ktunaxa with a wad of federal cash. Sinixt and supporters (myself, Rob Meaney, Michael Gilfillan, etc.) were the ones who camped for weeks in challenging conditions to monitor and respond to Glacier Resort’s activities; no Ktunaxa were there or supported our actions.
So I don’t see this as a success story, but rather another layer of extinction. I find there are just so many times when people celebrate decisions like this, or CBC Radio’s recent documentary on Sinixt, without looking more deeply into very problematic omissions and uncomfortable realities. Yeah, so we all want some wins in these gloomy times, but for me, this isn’t quite it. This parade deserves a serious dousing of rain.