Use and Occupancy Workshop provides new roadmap for KLRA

The Ktunaxa Land and Resource Agency (KLRA) recently held a three day workshop
to discuss the topic of Use and Occupancy (UaO) Mapping. This is becoming
increasingly important for the Ktunaxa Nation, as consultations with the
government and third parties development interests in Ktunaxa territory have
increased exponentially over the years.

Developments in Ktunaxa Territory are in several resource sectors including
forestry, hydro, coal bed gas, coal mining and tourism. They also involve
various levels of government and industry, and require a great deal of planning
and collaboration on behalf of the KLRA.

“Whenever you are dealing with engagement processes such as consultation and
negotiations, you need a solid foundation on which to base your discussions,”
said Ray Warden, Director of KLRA.

“We have worked extremely hard to develop our internal capacity and the
tools to govern the engagement levels with government and third party that wish
to develop in our territory. It is to our benefit to have solid, Use and
Occupancy information which provides that foundation.”

The workshop featured facilitator, Terry Tobias, who is the author of ‘Chief Kerry’s
’ and ‘Living Proof’, books which highlights the need to plan your UaO
collection to ensure it is accurately collected and is defensible in courts.

Approximately 30 people attended the workshop, and the attendees included
Ktunaxa Leadership, Nation Members and staff from the Communities and KNC.
During the workshop, we looked at ways of collecting data to current standards,
and showed many examples of both good and bad UaO information.

One message that the workshop delivered, was the need to gather information
properly the first time. Often the information that is gathered is from Elders,
and their memories and knowledge are invaluable. You sometimes don’t get
another opportunity to do it.

Another challenge that many First Nations face is having their UaO
information in many different locations and in a wide range of mediums.
Typically this information can be anything from a newspaper clipping, to an
audio recording, or a photograph.

“We have collected a lot of information in the past, but is good practice to
upgrade our database to reflect contemporary archival standards from time to
time,” continued Warden.

“I believe that most participants that attended the workshop were inspired
and excited to continue work that will benefit us as a Nation and it provides
us with a guide as we develop our work plan for the upcoming years. The amount
of negotiations and consultation will only increase with time.”

The funding for the workshop was through BC Capacity Initiative, and is just
the first part of a bigger goal for the KLRA. The next steps are to develop a
2011-forward UaO Strategy and work plan, then review previous TUS projects, and
finally, provide education and training for those who will be collecting this
information in the future.

If you would like more information on the workshop, or the KLRA, please
contact Ray Warden at