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.

Our traditional territory covers about 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles) within the Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia. Historically, our territory included parts of Alberta, Montana, Washington and Idaho.

For thousands of years we enjoyed the natural bounty of the land, seasonally migrating throughout our homelands 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 Nation Council (KNC) is directed by Leadership from four Ktunaxa First Nations: ʔakisq̓nuk First Nationʔaq̓am, yaqan nuʔkiy and Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi‘it.

Ktunaxa First Nations (Canada)

(Ktunaxa) Kootenai Tribes (United States)

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

The Ktunaxa language is unique among Native linguistic groups in North America. Our names for landmarks throughout our homelands, 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 our people unique and distinctive.