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Natives plan hope to cancel Sun Peaks festival


Some members of the Interior Alliance are fighting Sun Peaks Resort’s expansion plans by targetting German visitors and bands playing at next month’s SnowJob music festival.

According to the Vancouver Province , the Interior Alliance of 40 native bands is appealing to the performers in Our Lady Peach, Shaggy and Crazy Town, three bands scheduled to play at Sun Peaks March 8-11. A member of the Neskonlith band said the native groups hope the performers will understand their concerns for the environment and their spiritual ties to the high alpine area.

The bands also plan to visit Berlin and Germany’s Dutscher Bundestag tourism organization, according to The Province.

However, a press release later in the week from the Little Shuswap Band stated the band did not support "the confrontational tactics employed by a small number of individuals from the Local First Nations community."

The band said it supported the SnowJob concert and noted that its own elders have consistently voted against supporting any protest activities.

"As First Nations we should be working together with everyone to get the economy up and going, versus what’s happening now," Chief Felix Arnouse told the Kamloops Daily News .

The Little Shuswap Band was one of the three bands in the Chase area that jointly filed a specific land claim to the federal government in 1996. The claim was rejected three years later.

The bands maintain they received a large land base under the Neskonlith Reserve established in 1862, but that the size of the reserve was greatly reduced without their approval by a government official four years later. The Little Shuswap Band believes the three bands should be discussing their claim and working toward a settlement with the federal government, rather than protesting.

Members of the other two bands, the Neskonlith and Adams Lake, established a protest camp at Sun Peaks last fall to raise attention to their claim. They say the ski resort falls within their traditional area.

According to the Daily News, there have been a few confrontations with skiers at the resort and the McGillivray Creek Bridge, used by logging trucks, was burned more than two weeks ago near a demonstration held by natives.

Meanwhile, the Interior Alliance is angry because Sun Peaks has begun its expansion, including logging on Mount Morrissey.

Neskonlith Chief Art Manuel and St'at'imc Nation chairman Gary John are going to Germany to meet with the Dutscher Bundestag.

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