Who We Are

Ktunaxa (pronounced ‘k-too-nah-ha’) people have occupied the lands adjacent to the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers and the Arrow Lakes of British Columbia, Canada for more than 10,000 years.

The Traditional Territory of the Ktunaxa Nation covers approximately 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles) within the Kootenay region of south-eastern British Columbia and historically included parts of Alberta, Montana, Washington and Idaho.

For thousands of years the Ktunaxa people enjoyed the natural bounty of the land, seasonally migrating throughout our Traditional Territory to follow vegetation and hunting cycles. We obtained all our food, medicine and material for shelter and clothing from nature – hunting, fishing and gathering throughout our Territory, across the Rocky Mountains and on the Great Plains of both Canada and the United States.

European settlement in the late 1800s, followed by the establishment of Indian Reserves, led to the creation of the present Indian Bands.

Ktunaxa citizenship is comprised of Nation members from six Bands located throughout historic traditional Ktunaxa territory.  Five Bands are located in British Columbia, Canada and two are in the United States.  Many Ktunaxa citizens also live in urban and rural areas “off reserve”.

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For contact information for each of these Bands, please click here.

The Ktunaxa language is unique among Native linguistic groups in North America. Ktunaxa names for landmarks throughout our Traditional Territory and numerous heritage sites confirm this region as traditional Ktunaxa land.

Shared lands, a rich cultural heritage, and a language so unique that it is not linked to any other in the world make the Ktunaxa people unique and distinctive.