Not everyone is thrilled with the recent declaration of the Ashnola corridor, in the Similkameen Valley, as an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area.
The Indigenous family of the late Robert and Henry Dennis, who live in the Ashnola area, announced their opposition at the signing of the declaration on April 28, followed by a press release issued to the media in May.
That release, which echoes their earlier speech, states that they do not support the declaration and the initiative. One particular point that was brought up multiple times is that they claim they were not consulted as part of the process leading up to and following the signing of the declaration.
The press release also reiterates that they are the original certified possession holders of the traditional Ashnola territory, having never ceded their rights and title to the Canadian government or Crown.
During the signing ceremony, one of the points that the Dennis family earmarked as a concern was the inclusion of a reference to the proposed national park preserve for the Okanagan Similkameen that is also in the midst of ongoing discussions.
When asked about the Dennis family’s opposition on April 28, Lower Similkameen Indian Band Chief Keith Crow noted he knew some had concerns with the declaration of the Ashnola corridor.
“In all, there’s just some miscommunication going on,” said Crow. “We are here to listen, we are family. I have a lot of respect for the Dennis family, I always have. We are going to try and engage with them over the next few weeks to get their expressed opinions and include that in the declaration.
Planning for the Ashnola Indigenous Conserved and Protected Area is still in the early stages, which includes communicating and consulting with members of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band.
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