LETTER: Who speaks for the Sinixt on Jumbo?

From reader K.L. Kivi

Re: “Feds give Ktunaxa $16M to protect Jumbo Glacier Resort site

As a long time Jumbo Wild activist, I welcome the removal of the central Purcells from the corporate hands of the Obertis and Glacier Resorts Ltd. The protection of this spectacular wilderness is long overdue and essential. Hurray and gratitude to everyone for all their work to keep Jumbo wild over the past three decades!

In the work to protect Jumbo, I need to acknowledge the Sinixt Nation as a long standing partner of the West Kootenay Coalition for Jumbo Wild. From the beginning, Sinixt (largely through their appointed spokesperson Marilyn James), were full participants in the campaign to preserve this part of their sacred tum xula7xw, known as Piq-s-mx_ikn (Place of the Female White Grizzly).

That the federal government has handed the area and $16 million to the Ktunaxa is no surprise.

The Ktunaxa continue to claim much of Sinixt tum xula7xw in the colonial land claims process. The autonomous Sinixt have requested no land use decisions in shared territory be made until the extinction issue is resolved. Jumbo/Piq-s-mx_ikn/Qat’muk clearly falls into this category. The RDCK has also asked the feds for the resolution of the erroneous extinction of the Sinixt.

In this article, Shelly Boyd of the Colville Confederated Tribes gives full support to the Ktunaxa endeavor, claiming to speak for the Sinixt Nation. Boyd is an employee of the CCT which represents 12 nations/tribes. She is not a spokesperson for the Sinixt Nation nor has the CCT ever worked on the Jumbo issue. To gleefully congratulate the Ktunaxa on grabbing a piece of the tum xula7xw speaks for itself.

Credit needs to go where credit is due. A critique I frequently hear from Indigenous peoples is that environmentalists use them when expedient for their campaigns, and drop them when it comes to Indigenous rights. Are those who have supported the work of keeping Jumbo Wild those kind of people? Or? Long overdue is a resolution of the Sinixt bureaucratic extinction which would allow Sinixt to participate fully in decisions concerning their homeland.

K.L. Kivi

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