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SnowJob to go ahead


Letters of support from First Nations chiefs in the Kamloops area mean the SnowJob 2001 MuchMusic concert festival will go ahead at Sun Peaks March 6-11.

MuchMusic general manager David Kines confirmed the decision earlier this week. In a press release, Kines quoted from letters of support from the chiefs of the Kamloops, Little Shuswap and Whispering Pines/Clinton bands and said that in light of that strong support, SnowJob would proceed.

The concert, featuring Shaggy, Our Lady Peace and Crazy Town, was threatened by some natives who are protesting the resort’s expansion on what they claim is their traditional territory.

The concert is expected to attract about 4,000 visitors and economic spinoffs are estimated at up to $1.3 million.

Janice Billy, spokeswoman for the protesting group the Skwelkwek’welt Protection Centre, said she wasn’t surprised MuchMusic went ahead with SnowJob after it received the chiefs’ letters. But she and the others who have spent days and weeks up at the camp feel they were let down by those chiefs.

Billy said a petition is being circulated and was sent to Kines. It includes 252 names of elders, community members and supporters who want to see all development at Sun Peaks stopped as well as SnowJob.

Billy’s group has also organized workshops on conducting non-violent protests. If there is violence during SnowJob, it won’t be on the part of the natives, she said.

The protest camp was set up a few months ago by members of the Adams Lake and Neskonlith Indian Bands who object to proposed expansion of the ski development and to inaction by the federal government to resolve claims the bands have in the area.

Sun Peaks manager Darcy Alexander said he has received letters of support from the same three bands as Kines and that they are an indication that the local aboriginal community wants to deal with things in its own way.