A $1.3-million land claim settlement between the Lower Kootenay Band (LKB) and the Government of Canada will be distributed amongst all registered band members. Each member will get approximately $5,000, while minors will have their portion secured in a trust until they are 18 years of age.

Band members voted in November’s referendum 87 to 7 in favour of the funds being distributed equally. 

“This was our democracy at work,” said Jason Louis, LKB Chief. “The message has been sent loud and clear from the membership of what they want to do.”

Louie said the LKB has more claims in the works that have already been accepted by the Government of Canada.

“This is somewhat of a trial run on future distributions,” Louie told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “That’s not to say that there will be the same outcome, but I think given the timing of – you know this pandemic, the timing of this is just perfect for those that have been struggling.”

The $1.3-million claim is in regards to Highway 21, which used to house a railway south of Creston and on Lower Kootenay Band territory. More than 100 years ago, when the now-defunct railway was abandoned, the Province took ownership of the land when it was supposed to go back to the Band.

MORE: Lower Kootenay Band compensated for Highway south of Creston (Aug. 5, 2020)

“This is more of a moral victory for me,” Louie added. “That this judicial system that was designed to really destroy us and work against us, we used that same system to have justice be on our side.”