The “Idle No More” movement manifested itself in the Lower Similkameen on February 3 with the Lower Similkameen Indian Band’s information and drum session held at Memorial Park.
Band members stayed true to the movement, staging a grassroots based, peaceful, inclusive information session outlining the band’s concern for the environment and ongoing native issues with the present federal government.
It was encouraging to note the inclusivity of the meeting, in that several native speakers spoke of the need to work together to resolve local environmental issues. It was also no surprise to notice that water quality in the valley seemed to be a high priority with many.
The timing of this increasing desire amongst local natives to discuss and work towards a resolution to water issues in the valley couldn’t come at a better time, as the Similkameen Watershed Study moved forward recently with the RDOS Board of Directors’ selection of a consultant for phase one of the undertaking.
This largely federally funded project presents an ideal opportunity, for all those in the Similkameen who are interested, to participate in a discussion that will help plot a direction for the future preservation of the watershed.
Another sentiment expressed at Sunday’s rally was that of the realization that a viable economy was necessary, but not at any cost – that there are limits beyond which environmental degradation doesn’t have a worthwhile payback.
It’s a concept that isn’t lost on many other residents in the Similkameen. Sunday’s initial rally by the LSIB may be proof that valley residents have similar views on such matters – native or not. Such mutual understanding should be a good basis upon which to build further discussions.