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Simpcw First Nation hosts helicopter tour over Valley

Simpcw First Nation hosts historic helicopter tour over the located in the Robson Valley as part of a historic plan to further protect this biodiverse land in Simpcw territory.

In Valemount on June 26, a delegation of Simpcw Elders, representatives from Simpcw First Nation and invited guests that included Chris David from the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, the mayor of Valemount, Owen Torgerson, councillor of McBride, Joe Kolida as well as Roy Howard from the Fraser Headwater Alliance, embarked on a helicopter tour of the Valley.

Simpcw First Nation Kúkpi7 (Chief), George Lampreau said, “The had played a significant role in protecting Simpcwemc since time immemorial and now it’s time we work to protect the with our partners as we come up with plans together for future protection and possibly opportunities.”

Simpcw declared the Valley as an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) in 2023 and in protecting the Valley in traditional respect this means tknémentem (to preserve Earthʼs natural resources) and Xyemstém re Tmicw (respect the Earth) according to the fundamental values of Símpcwemc. According to Simpcw First Nation this declaration is “closely related” to Canada’s 30 by 30 goal to protect 30 percent of land and water in Canada by 2030. The initiatives both focus on reversing the decline in biodiversity, fight climate change and maintain a sustainable economy.

Simpcw First Nation continues their devotion to protecting the land in Simpcw territory which covers approximately 5,000,000 hectares of land traditionally travelled by the Simpcwúl'ecw people.

The Simpcwúl’ecw are part of the Secwepemc, or Shuswap, Nation, one of seventeen bands who historically and currently live in the Thompson River Valley.

The is located in the Robson Valley just north of the upper headwater of the North Thompson River, draining into the Fraser River between McBride and Dunster and currently contains two protected areas called the Upper and Lower Raush Protected Areas established in 2005.

Simpcw First Nation says that with the designation of the area as IPCA, implementing the use of Indigenous law to continue to conserve and protect the valley while maintaining cultural traditions within the valley, Simpcw foresees this project to lead to further Indigenous management approaches while creating long-term sustainable economic opportunities for the Simpcwemc that will contribute to the protection of the land ongoing.

The intention of the panoramic trip according to Simpcw First Nation Kúkpi7 (Chief), George Lampreau was to “personify the dedicated commitment Simpcw people have to conserving the incredibly rich and biodiverse Valley while protecting Símpcwemcs’ (Simpcw people’s) continued cultural use of the area long term for the good of all.”