Proposing the establishment of a national park reserve versus a national park allows for the recognition of title and rights held in the South Okanagan – Similkameen region by the Syilx/Okanagan Nation. The South Okanagan – Similkameen Steering Committee demonstrates the provincial and federal governments call for renewed, nation-to-nation relationships with Indigenous peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.
There have been questions from local communities on how cooperative management within a national park reserve would work. Indigenous relationships with the land will continue as they always have and locals and visitors will continue to access the land. We only need to look to the large majority of national parks, and national park reserves in Canada that are already cooperatively managed between Parks Canada and local First Nations, where surrounding communities continue to access and use the places they have always used. Cooperatively managed national parks and national park reserves remain places for the community and all Canadians.
What can Parks Canada do to promote respectful and cooperative relationships in the South Okanagan - Similkameen?