30 Sep National Day for Truth & Reconciliation: Reflecting, Learning, and Taking Action
For over 14,000 years, the First People of this continent, including people of the Ktunaxa, Sinixt, Secwe̓pemc, and Sylix First Nations, took care of this landscape, growing with the seasons, learning the languages of the land, and carefully carrying traditional ecological knowledge through the generations. The First People were the first stewards, actively protecting and contributing to the vitality of the ecosystems we are still fortunate to connect with today. This includes Kootenay Lake and the land that surrounds it. To this day, Indigenous people and communities are worldwide leaders in ecosystem conservation and restoration, acting as the voices of the streams, lakes, mountains, plants, and the crawling, swimming and flying creatures that colonial systems continue to harm and oppress.
Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society, on behalf of our staff and board, want to express our immense gratitude to be operating on the traditional territories of the Ktunaxa, Sinixt, Secwe̓pemc, and Sylix Nations. We want to express our gratitude to the people of these nations, who for thousands of years nurtured the delicate balance of this natural landscape, and who continue to share their ancient wisdoms and teachings that guide stewardship practices on Kootenay Lake and beyond. We also want to acknowledge the injustices that have scarred, and continue to scar this landscape and its people, and that reconciliation is ongoing process.
We are committed to listening to, learning from, and growing with Indigenous communities as we pursue our shared goal of stewarding this land. We have a long way to go, and a lot of learning and growing to achieve. We recognize this, and are making space for education and reflection on Anti-Oppression and Truth and Reconciliation.
Today on National Day for Truth & Reconciliation, we are sharing resources that direct you to the various local First Nations, the incredible work they are doing, and where you can learn more.
The Territories FOKLSS Operate On:
“Ktunaxa (pronounced ‘k-too-nah-ha’) 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.
The Traditional Territory of the Ktunaxa Nation covers approximately 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles) within the Kootenay region of south-eastern British Columbia and historically included parts of Alberta, Montana, Washington and Idaho.”
Resources to learn more about the Ktunaxa Nation:
“The Sinixt Nation is a collective group of indigenous human-beings who are the sovereign indigenous caretakers of Sinixt tum-ula7xw (mother-earth), located in the area now known as “the interior plateau of BC, Canada”. Sinixt territory extends North of “Revelstoke, BC”, crosses a international boundaries to “Kettle Falls, Washington” in the south, to the Monashee Ridge in the West, and in the east and is traditionally all the way from the Rocky Mountain Ridge encompassing the entirety of the headwaters of the “shwan-etk-qwa” (Columbia River). They are the traditional gatekeepers to the lands which lead to the grease trails to Blackfoot territory to the east.”
Resources to learn more about the Sinixt Nation:
“The Tk‘emlúpsemc, ‘the people of the confluence’, now known as the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc are members of the Interior-Salish Secwepemc (Shuswap) speaking peoples of British Columbia.
The Shuswap or Secwepemc (pronounced suh-Wep-muhc) people occupy a vast territory of the interior of British Columbia. This traditional territory stretches from the Columbia River valley along the Rocky Mountains, west to the Fraser River, and south to the Arrow Lakes. Most Secwepemc people live in the river valleys.”
Resources to learn more about the Secwepemc Nation:
Sylix Okanagan Nation
“The Syilx People of the Okanagan Nation are a trans-boundary tribe separated at the 49th parallel by the border between Canada and the United States. Our Nation is comprised of seven member communities in the Southern Interior of British Columbia: Okanagan Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian Band, Penticton Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Upper and Lower Similkameen Indian Bands, and Westbank First Nation; and in Northern Washington State, the Colville Confederated Tribes. Our members share the same land, nsyilxcən language, culture, and customs. We are a distinct and sovereign Nation.”
Learn more about the Sylix Okanagan Nation:
Learn more about the Sylix culture by checking out the United by Water Documentary by the Sylix film maker Derrick LaMere
- Truth and Reconciliation Report and its 94 Calls to Action
- Ktunaxa businesses to support
- See what territories you reside on using the Native-Land interactive map
- Columbia River Treaty
- Interior Salish: Enduring Languages of the Columbian Plateau