Announcing the new #Ktunaxahomelands campaign, allowing locals and travellers to gain an understanding of how the Rockies and Kootenay waterways were formed, while appreciating the significance of the Hoodoos, all from a Ktunaxa perspective.
The Ktunaxa Nation Council Economic Investment Sector has developed a promotional campaign with partners including Cranbrook Tourism, Tourism Fernie and Tourism Kimberley since late 2020. Janice Alpine, responsible for Ktunaxa Tourism Engagement, recognized that the Kootenay Region, her homeland of Ktunaxa ʔamakʔis, was not a well-known location yet was part of “SuperNatural BC” and “Beautiful BC.”
Alpine recognized that the Ktunaxa story and perspective were needed components to support this campaign and were clearly missing. “As we reclaimed our stories of the land, we can now share with our neighbours and visitors,” Alpine said.
“The visitors are looking for answers to their questions: Is there a tribe here, and what did they use this land (area) for? Essentially, right where they were standing.”
Alpine also recognized that her neighbours were looking for the stories behind the land formations where they chose to call their home.
“I am happy to present to you the #Ktunaxahomelands campaign, and hope it generates the brief understanding it was intended,” she said. “Without the support we received from our partners, including the DMOs, Columbia Basin Trust, Destination BC and Ktunaxa citizens, this would have never have become a reality.”
“Visitors to our region want to know the history of this place, and we felt we had a role to play in communicating the broader history of our region and its first peoples,” said collaboration lead Kristy-Jahn Smith, of Cranbrook Tourism. “We wanted to support the Ktunaxa in telling their stories in their words. I feel we have achieved that in this collaboration and look forward to more work together in future.”
The project spanned across the Ktunaxa Homelands, including the communities of Cranbrook, Kimberley, and Fernie.
“We have been excited to be a part of this project led by Cranbrook Tourism, Janice and the Ktunaxa,” said Tourism Fernie’s Jikke Gyorki. “It’s important for tourism to support the telling of Ktunaxa culture, history and stories, while educating visitors about the land they play on and their stewardship role.”
For Tourism Kimberley’s John Hamilton, the understanding of how the region was formed through Ktunaxa’s perspective is beautiful and truly moving. “Exploring the lands through the eyes of the Ktunaxa Creation history brings the experience to another level and is extremely inspiring,” he said.
Locals and travellers are encouraged to learn and engage in the content found on the popular online magazine ZenSeekers.com.
“This project is exactly why ZenSeekers exists,” said Jim Barr, Seekers Media founder and co-producer on the #Ktunaxahomelands campaign.
“Founded in the shadow of Gord Downie’s passing, a key ZenSeekers’ mission is to support Canadian’s reconciliation journey. The video, photo and editorial from #KtunaxaHomelands will open the eyes and ears of audiences across Alberta and B.C., and give travellers (and locals) a new outlook on the land the next time they are hiking, biking or skiing in the area.”
Visit the ZenSeekers website for all the stories.