Fernie & Elk Valley Culture Guide Issue 4 - Spring 2017 - Page 20

Welcome to Ktunaxa Territory The Elk Valley falls within the Ktunaxa traditional land district of qukin amak is, or Raven’s Territory. Long, long ago, the Ktunaxa had permanent living ground in the Elk Valley. The land was used throughout the year for many reasons. The Ktunaxa grew tobacco in various places in the valley. It was also the route by which Ktunaxa would travel to the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains to hunt bison. It is now indisputable that this area and the larger area of qukin amak is in its entirety were originally and continuously occupied by Ktunaxa speaking people even as glaciers still sat on the mountains-long before, and well after, Europeans arrived and established what is now the USA/Canada border. 20 Before the arrival of the Europeans, the Elk Valley was a wild, vibrant and sacred landscape. It was protected and cared for by the Ktunaxa people, who followed the law of the land called qukin aknumu tiŧiŧ-the land provides the resources to survive, and in return, people uphold their covenant with the creator to protect and not overuse the land. This is the legacy that current Ktunaxa communities continue to uphold. It is a legacy you see in every grizzly bear cub, every moose track, every elk by the road, every ancient cottonwood. The Ktunaxa efforts to preserve their culture, history and language have been, and continue to be, vital to sustaining this land and all its inhabitants-plants, animals and humans.