Simpcw First Nation has taken steps to preserve and protect the Raush Valley, an area located south of McBride.
This week, the First Nation announced it had declared the valley an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA).
In a news release, Simpcw Kukpi7 George Lampreau said the designation, which was self-declared based on the rights and jurisdiction Simpcw has over its unceded territory, will help conserve the biodiverse valley and protect ongoing and traditional use of the area.
“Creating in IPCA in the Raush Valley is our long-term commitment to conserve lands and waters for future generations,” Lampreau said.
“The Raush is important to Simpcwemc historically and currently, and we will exercise our right to control what happens in this valley. The area has had little resource development and we intend to conserve it.”
Lampreau said a western approach to conservation bars Indigenous people from making decisions on their territories.
“Protecting the Raush as an IPCA allows us to continue to take yecwmenulecw (take care of the land) as we have for time immemorial,” he said.
In a statement, Simpcw FIrst Nation said the project presents an opportunity to foster good relationships between Simpcwemc, settlers and other living things supported by the valley.
The First Nation said it will be pursuing additional steps to protect the area, and has received support for the IPCA from industry and government partners and neighbouring First Nations.