A commercial huckleberry harvest near Yahk is being called ‘disrespectful’ to the rights of the Ktunaxa.
The Ktunaxa’s Lands and Resources Stewardship Assistant Bonnie Harvey is joining with Wildsight to stand against companies picking hundreds of pounds of berries daily.
She says all levels of government need to address this issue.
“We need to work together to ensure we are honoring and saving the huckleberries for the animals,” Harvey says. “We start with one huckleberry company coming in and then there is going to be several other companies that will come in and they’re just going to devastate all of the berries. Then there’s not going to be anything left for all living things.”
Harvey says the ongoing harvest is destructive to local animals and crops.
“It goes against the Ktunaxa values of stewarding the land and respecting and honouring the animals and the spirit of the huckleberries,” Harvey says. “We haven’t lost this land in treaties, we haven’t lost this land in war or anything and if anybody wants to do commercial picking, they need to be consulting with the Ktunaxa Nation.”
Wildsight is calling for a ban on commercial picking near Yahk and Bountiful, saying bears need large quantities of the wild fruit to survive.
(Photo of large huckleberry containers provided by Bonnie Harvey)
– Ktunaxa Nation’s Lands and Resources Stewardship Assistant, Bonnie Harvey
– Jeff Johnson