Editorial: More LKB neighbours leads to more understanding

“Both proposals for Kinsmen Park serve each party’s stakeholders well. Each has the intention of strengthening and growing community. But only one truly offers a chance to heal the past and change the narrative for the future.”

Last week, I had separate conversations with Nasukin Jason Louie of the Lower Kootenay Band (LKB) and Mayor Ron Toyota of the Town of Creston regarding each party’s bid for Kinsmen Park. Both spoke of their interest in the property, what it has to offer and what their land development plans are.

For the town, the property offers a number of recreational opportunities and prompts more community development, such as the prospect of a child daycare building. Tennis courts, affordable housing units and a refurbished soccer field are also included in their proposal.

For the LKB, being the successful applicant means reclaiming yet another piece of land that was stripped from them, and offers a learning opportunity for the greater community. By using the space to build residences for Band members, this will lead to more Yaqan Nukiy neighbours who actually live in town, which can then lead to the creation of more dialogue between Band members and non-Band members.

Both proposals serve each party’s stakeholders well. Each has the intention of strengthening and growing community. But only one truly offers a chance to heal the past and change the narrative for the future.

READ MORE: Lower Kootenay Band, Town of Creston submit proposals for purchase of Kinsmen Park

As noted in 1876’s Indian Act, reserves were created “for use and benefit of Indians.” After colonization, the federal government thought that it was fair to set aside a piece of property for distinct Indigenous groups after stripping and occupying their traditional lands.

So for the LKB, reclaiming Akiktunam — the traditional Ktunaxa name of the land that the park sits on — is not only a means of taking back what was taken from them, but it offers the chance to break free of the notion that Indigenous people are limited to living on reserves only. By shattering this medieval concept, hopefully this helps to erase the image of Indigenous people as “the other” in society.

It’s clear to see the gap between several residents in town and Canada’s Indigenous population as a whole. I have heard and I have read the ignorance and racism spewed by some community members about Indigenous people, and it’s disappointing really. Creston is a beautiful town full of wonderful people who will do anything to better the community, and bettering the community means working with all members regardless of their background.

Creston needs more Indigenous faces in town to mend that gap. As non-Indigenous Canadians, we can learn from them and they can learn some things from us too.

As I write this on Monday, Sept. 21, a decision for the property owner has not yet been made by School District 8 Trustees. They are going to the table tomorrow, and the successful applicant will likely be named sometime this week.

Regardless of the outcome, I hope that both the LKB and the Town of Creston are able to come together and find a way to make sure that both parties are satisfied with the development of the property.

Whatever happens, it’s important to remember that we are living in the age of truth and reconciliation. We need to be working towards empowering and strengthening members of Canada’s Indigenous population. If we’re serious about reconciliation, we need to act. Words aren’t enough.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: aaron.hemens@crestonvalleyadvance.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Brittny Anderson. Photo: Submitted
UPDATED: NDP’s Brittny Anderson named provisional winner in Nelson-Creston

The final result won’t be known until November due to mail-in ballots

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

The Town of Creston’s conceptual design for Market Park. Photo: Town of Creston
Town of Creston preparing grant application to go towards Market Park development

The grant is through B.C.’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure program, where $90 million will be distributed throughout the province

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read