The Heritage centre

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The Yaqan Nuki people

Learn more about the Yaqan Nuki people, their culture,  tools and knowledge.

Ktunaxa History

Learn more about the importance of the land, ancestral heritage, and where their teachings come from. 

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The traditional name of the people of Lower Kootenay is Yaqan Nuki. The Yaqan Nuki people are a part of the larger distinct Indigenous group of the Ktunaxa. Traditional Ktunaxa territory stretches across 70,000 square kilometers in the Kootenay region. Before the creation of the USA-Canada border, Ktunaxa territory also included parta of Montana, Idaho and Washington. Ktunaxa people are most known for their unique inventions such as the tulle tipi and sturgeon nose canoe. The Ktunaxa language is a language isolate, meaning it is completely unique and unlike any other language in the world. Similar to other Indigenous languages of B.C., it is a language that is almost extinct with very few fluent speakers still alive today.

The Yaqan Nuki people make up the Lower Kootenay band with a population of over 200 people, who live both on and off reserve.
The LKB reserve is located within the Creston Valley, just 4 kilometers south from town and 8 kilometers north from the USA border. The sturgeon nose canoe was used extensively by the Yaqan Nuki people not only for transportation, but also to navigate the wetland environment for sustenance purposes. Much of the diets of the Yaqan Nuki people depended on the wetlands, in conjunction with the rest of the natural territory. Examples of sustance from the wetlands is duck and goose eggs, cattails for the tulle tipi and fish such as trout, kokanee and sturgeon.