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

Buddhist monument to be dedicated in Slocan cemetery

A new post has been created to mark the site where at least nine Japanese Canadians were cremated

Welcome to the club

Six athletes were recently inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame

Unusual case has Trail police asking for help identifying suspect

The man was caught on video surveillance at Trail City Hall

Silver Medal, Silver Division for U14C West Kootenay Rebels

B.C. championship held on the coast earlier this month

Anglican Church to review governance structure

Two bishops’ votes stood in the way of having same-sex marriage recognized by the church laws

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

B.C. removes personal limits for bringing home out-of-province alcohol

Previous relgulations placed limits on the amount of liquor that B.C. residents could bring home

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Most Read