Jasper National Park News - October 19, 2017

Jasper, Alberta        Parks Canada Agency

Parks Canada is committed to a system of national heritage places that recognizes the role of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and in the traditional use of these special places.
From October 6 to 10, 2017, Parks Canada supported the Simpcw First Nation to conduct traditional harvest activities on lands that they consider to be within their traditional territory within the boundaries of Jasper National Park.
Conservation and safety were the main priorities for both Parks Canada and the Simpcw First Nation. Parks Canada and the Simpcw First Nation ensured that harvest was safe for the public, participants and Parks Canada staff.
Members of the Simpcw First Nation, including Elders, youth, men and women, reconnected with their traditionally used lands while camping in the park during the harvest period. The harvest, conducted by hunters who travelled on foot, included three elk, two bighorn sheep and one white-tailed deer. This will in no way have an impact on the sustainability of wildlife populations in Jasper National Park.
Indigenous Peoples conduct harvesting for fishing, hunting, and plant collection across Canada, including in some national parks. Over many thousands of years, traditional harvesting activities helped shape the natural environment. This properly planned and managed harvesting activity in Jasper National Park - where these activities have been banned for decades - respects the ecological integrity of the park and furthers reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Quotes
“Acting freely in our own traditional territory, representing ourselves as a Nation and having our people exercise our rights through this harvest means the world to us. This harvest gives us a better memory of Jasper National Park and helps deal with some of the intergenerational trauma of being forced from the land. Together, we are working in a true spirit of reconciliation with Parks Canada to move forward together through mutual respect”.
Nathan Matthew,
Chief
Simpcw First Nation

“Parks Canada recognizes and commemorates the contributions of Indigenous Peoples, their history and cultures, as well as the special relationship Indigenous Peoples have with the land. In Jasper National Park, we work actively with Indigenous communities that have historical associations with the lands that are today within park. Parks Canada was proud to support the Simpcw First Nation to conduct traditional harvest activities in Jasper National Park in a safe and sustainable way.”
Alan Fehr,
Field Unit Superintendent
Jasper National Park

Quick Facts
Simpcw First Nation is a Secwepemc band and member of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council situated on the North Thompson River at Chu Chua in British Columbia. Ethno historic research indicates a history of harvesting by Secwepemc people in the region encompassing Jasper National Park. 
Jasper National Park is currently engaged with 26 different Indigenous groups, governments, and communities through the Jasper Indigenous Forum. The Forum represents First Nation, Métis and Non-Status Indigenous affiliations with traditional ties to the park.