The Regional District of Central Kootenay doesn’t support turning a piece of property at Fauquier into a reserve for the Westbank First Nation.
In a motion adopted overwhelmingly by the board today, the RDCK said the federal government should suspend granting reserve status within the traditional territory of the Sinixt First Nation, which includes the Arrow Lakes.
The motion calls the government’s 1950s declaration of Sinixt extinction in Canada a mistake, and requests that they establish which lands are within Sinixt territory.
Arrow Lakes director Paul Peterson, who introduced the motion, says he was pleasantly surprised the board adopted it without any changes.
Shelly Boyd, recently appointed as the Arrow Lakes facilitator for the Colville Confederated Tribes, says she was also surprised and thrilled.
It’s believed to be the first time a local government has formally asked for recognition of the Sinixt, whose hunting rights in Canada were upheld in a court decision this year.
Boyd says she’s grateful for the RDCK’s support.
However, the RDCK’s support is not required to convert the 1.9-hectare property to reserve status. The Westbank, who obtained the property in a land swap with the government, say they only plan to use it as a private campground.