Indigenous Food and Cultural Values vs. Large Scale Ski Resort Development in the Highest Alpine Mountains of Secwepemcul'ecw (Land of the Shuswap)
For the purpose of promoting social learning and a deeper cross cultural understanding of the current situations, issues and concerns in one of the last remaining sensitive alpine mountain ecosystems in the Southern Interior Plateau of B.C., this presentation will discuss the negative impacts of the Sun Peaks Ski Resort development on culturally important food harvesting sites in an area known to the Secwepemc (Shuswap First Peoples) as Skwelkwekwelt (highest alpine mountains). The presentation will provide an overview of the article written in 2006 by Secwepemc Harvester and Cultural Teacher Janice Billy titled: Cultral Survival and Environmental Degradation in the Mountains of the Secwepemc in Moss, L.A.G. ed. The Amenity Migrants: Seeking and Sustaining Mountains and their Cultures. The overview will provide a basis for increasing awareness around some of the related socio-political, cultural, and environmental factors that negatively impact the ability of the Secwepemc to respond to their needs for healthy indigenous foods in a culturally appropriate manner.
The presentation will thereby highlight the significance of Skwelkwekwelt in the context of Indigenous food sovereignty and provide an overview of the most recent Indigenous food sovereignty discussions that have taken place in the region. Following five central themes around which Indigneous food sovereignty discussions have been organized, the overview will highlight the concepts of:
1). Food, land and culture
2). Health and nutritional values of Indigenous foods
3). Generations and youth perspectives in the struggle to protect, conserve and restore Indigenous food systems
4). Indigenous food economies
5). Strategies for protection, conservation and restoration of Indigenous food systems
For the purpose of asserting Secwepemc food and cultural values in contemporary land and resource management, the presentation will also provide a critical analysis of the dominant social, cultural and economic values influencing large scale ski resort development and explore ways to work cross culturally to counterbalance the negative impacts that development is having on the remaining fragments of Indigenous food systems in alpine mountain regions.