Before Qat'muk: Jumbo Glacier Resort & the Grizzly Bear Spirit

The Facts About Jumbo Glacier Resort and the Qat'muk Declaration

November 30, 2012

Qat’muk Declaration Not Credible

The Jumbo Glacier Resort project team extends open arms to all First Nations and values the long-standing support of the Shuswap Indian Band, the closest First Nation to the project site. The team continues to seek common ground with all First Nations, including the Ktunaxa, and it has a strong desire to maintain amity and to continue working towards a benefits agreement, but it has an equally strong desire for the truth be told and that history not be ignored or misrepresented.

In November, 2010, twenty years after the comprehensive land use, environmental assessment and master planning reviews for Jumbo Glacier Resort had begun, the Ktunaxa Nation declared the entire Toby-Jumbo watershed, “home of the Grizzly Bear Spirit.” The Toby-Jumbo watershed includes Panorama Mountain Village and the Jumbo Glacier Resort project site. The upper Jumbo Valley, where the Jumbo Glacier Resort base will be situated, was singled out as a refuge area and a “most sacred core”.

Never before in the project’s then-Twenty year history had Qat’muk or the existence of a “Sacred” refuge area for the Grizzly Bear Spirit been mentioned.

The Ktunaxa had participated extensively in the CORE land use review process, the environmental assessment project specifications and review process, the master planning process and had begun negotiating an impact management and benefits agreement with the proponent. Never before in the project’s then-20 year history had Qat’muk or the existence of a refuge area for the Grizzly Bear Spirit been mentioned. The claim, accompanied by large public relations efforts complete with mal-informed celebrities, strained credibility and was met with offense and indignation from other First Nations and stakeholders.

As the resort enters the construction phase, the project team remains positive and is looking forward to the moment when it will be possible to work cooperatively and conclude an Impact Management and Benefits Agreement with the Ktunaxa.


March 19, 2013

Pictures and Locations

Photos from the Qat’Muk website do not show the valley of the Jumbo Glacier Resort project site.

Photos as depicted on the Qat’muk website are shown below with an indication of where pictures were taken and what they really show.

November 30, 2012

Summary of Facts

1. The Ktunaxa Kinbasket Tribal Council (KKTC) representatives were invited and were involved since the beginning of the process in 1991. At that time the Shuswap Indian Band, the closest to the project and supporters of the project, was a member of the KKTC.

2. Initial information from the KKTC did not indicate any particular archaeological or spiritual value in Jumbo Valley.

3. Through the East Kootenay CORE Table process no mention ever emerged of a particular archaeological, heritage or spiritual value of the valley.

4. No mention ever emerged of a particular archaeological, heritage or spiritual value of the valley during the 9-year long Environmental Assessment process. Near the end of the process Dave Hutchcroft of the Archaeological Planning and Assessment division of the Archaeology and Registry Services Branch noted in part: “please be reminded that this office has always maintained that there is a very low potential for the presence of any archaeological sites protected under the Heritage Conservation Act within the proposed development area (letters to EAO dated August 1, 1995 and November 23, 1995) and, as such, made no requirements for the completion of any additional archaeological studies.” That conclusion was “reached based on our opinion that the area has been extensively disturbed to the point where archaeological deposits are no longer likely to be present (i.e. several forest fires, extensive logging in the 1920’s and 1930’s, presence of a former mill at the proposed resort location) and that the physical landscape (eg. steep terrain, year-long snow cover at higher altitudes and 5 to 7 months of the year at lower levels) in the project area is unlikely to have supported the use or occupation of the project development area by aboriginal peoples.”

5. The Shuswap and the Ktunaxa separated at the end of the EA process, in 2004, and there was a disagreement among them also on the history of the aboriginal use of the valley, but neither referred to the valley as sacred in discussions with the proponents’ representatives or with the EA Office.

6. At the end of EA the Shuswap came out in support of the project and the Ktunaxa opposed, but the Ktunaxa left the door open and made no mention that the project should be killed because the ground was sacred. The Ktunaxa placed conditions for approval that were incorporated in the conditions of the EA Certificate.

7. Following the announcement of the EA Certificate, the KKTC administrator, Kathryn Teneese, said to the Turtle Island Native Network that “she is hopeful that they can deal with their outstanding concerns in their discussions with the Regional District, Lands and Wildlife BC and the Jumbo Glacier Resort proponent. She looks forward to the ongoing consultation and negotiation of an Impact Management and Benefits Agreement.”  There was no rejection of the project based on spiritual values or on the sacred nature of the valley.

8. In 2008 a comprehensive Impact Management and Benefits Agreement was completed by Glacier Resorts with the Shuswap Indian band, which has the support of the seventeen Chiefs of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council.

9. In July 2009, the Ktunaxa Nation Council abruptly stopped all discussions with the proponents’ representatives after the tabling its draft agreement, citing negotiations with the Province as the only reason.

10. In October 2010, the Ktunaxa signed a strategic engagement agreement to “guide on-going government to government discussions on natural resource decisions”… and the press release included the statement that ”by working together we will improve B.C.’s investment climate”.  The Province granted $1.65 million to the Ktunaxa to start the engagement agreement process.

11. On November 11, 2010, the Shuswap Indian band, based in Invermere and in closest proximity to Jumbo Valley, supported by the larger Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, wrote a letter to the Premier challenging the validity and the intent of the Ktunaxa planned demonstration to declare Jumbo Valley sacred land of the Ktunaxa.