Students perform during School District 8’s annual youth powwow in May. The district was criticized by Lower Kootenay Band for considering changes to its Indigenous acknowledgement. Photo submitted

Lower Kootenay Band criticizes proposed changes to School District 8’s acknowledgement

The district has backed off the new wording

The Lower Kootenay Band has admonished School District 8’s board of trustees for considering Indigenous acknowledgements that would include other B.C. and American bands.

Nasookin Jason Louie delivered a searing critique of the district during a meeting Tuesday. The district in turn reiterated it had already backed away from suggested changes to how schools acknowledge traditional territories after an April 12 meeting with band council.

The band had preferred the current acknowledgement read out prior to board meetings and school events that makes no mention of either the Ktunaxa Nation, which includes the district within its traditional territorial, or any other First Nation.

“I don’t know why they want to go down this political road but they’ve engaged us,” he told the Star after the meeting. “We have no other choice but to oblige.”

Indigenous acknowledgements have become a popular symbolic gesture in Canada. They differ depending on land claims and regional history, and have become more widely used following the publication of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 2015 report.

The statements have also been criticized as being empty rhetoric by Indigenous advocates.

The Kootenay Lake school district adopted its own acknowledgement in 2015. One year later Nelson city council followed suit, but made revisions in 2018 that specifically named the Ktunaxa, Metis, Syilx (Okanagan), and Sinixt peoples.

The school district began considering a similar change last year, according to superintendent Christine Perkins. Two acknowledgements were proposed: one used district-wide would include the Ktunaxa, Metic, Syilx, Sinixt and Secwepemc (Shuswap), while another used in the Creston area would only make reference to the Ktunaxa.

Louie said the Lower Kootenay Band would not stand for the change, which he said would contradict its own land claims.

“We’re not going to concede to that because we’re currently in at treaty process, we’re currently exploring the possibility or rights and title. The moment we acknowledge [those bands], we’re giving up our territory. We’re conceding there’s other First Nations here as well,” he said.

“There’s too much at stake so there’s no way in hell that we’re going to be acknowledging these other First Nations are in our territory.”

His presentation confused and rattled the board, which had considered the matter closed after its spring meeting with the band.

“To me there is no argument …,” said superintendent Christine Perkins. “We continue to work on building positive relationships with Chief Louie because we want the best for our kids.

“As far as we’re concerned we’re in relationship-building mode and we’re moving forward. We’re not in a fight with them.”

Perkins said the suggested changes came out of discussions within the Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee and Elder’s Council. Representatives from the Sinixt, Syilx and Secwepemc were invited to participate in the committee this year.

She added the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s education recommendations as well as Canada’s 2010 commitment to The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, also provided direction in considering new acknowledgements.

“It’s no small thing at all,” said Perkins. “To me, we’re trying to learn, we’re trying to follow truth, we’re trying to walk together with Lower Kootenay Band in reconciliation.”

Related:

Being Nasookin: a conversation with Kootenay chief Jason Louie

Powwow celebrates First Nations youth and culture



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Your Mountain Minute

Your weekly news recap… Continue reading

Black Press Kootenay Career Fair underway in Cranbrook

Today, Thursday, August 22, around 40 employers will be waiting to meet potential new employees

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

GADSAR receives funding for building upgrades

Golden Star staff Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors unanimously approved an application… Continue reading

Rossland council urges minister to kill Jumbo Glacier Resort project

Mayor writes letter panning ski resort on environmental, legal, and economic grounds

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

Most Read