December 2, 2016

"People would understand if this were a proposal that would destroy the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem or the Temple Mount."

Said the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association lawyer about the proposal to build a ski resort in the place the Ktuxana Nation call "Qat'muk" — "where the Grizzly Bear Spirit was born, goes to heal itself, and returns to the spirit world."

If grizzly bears relocate out of this area, the Ktuxana believe that they will lose the guidance of the spirit.
[The developer of the resort] says he does not believe the resort would violate anyone's ability to believe in their faith or to practise it but is leaving it up to "constitutional scholars" to debate its impact on religious freedoms.
You probably don't believe there is any such thing as the Grizzly Bear Spirit, so bears leaving the area could not mean that any spirit has actually gone. The Ktuxana will not be stopped from believing anything they want to believe, but what they believe will change if the ski resort is built. The belief that the Grizzly Bear Spirit is there, benefiting them, will be replaced by a belief that Grizzly Bear Spirit has deserted them. So is it correct to say that the government, authorizing the building of the ski resort, puts a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion?

I don't know the details of Canadian law, but the case is reminiscent of the 1988 American case Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association, in which the Yurok, Karuk, and Tolowa tribes failed to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that the government puts a substantial burden on their religion if it allows the building of a logging road in the Chimney Rock area of the Six Rivers National Forest, which the tribes hold sacred.

Obviously, these cases only happen because the Native Americans do not — not in a legal sense — own the land.

69 comments:

rhhardin said...

Trade it for a casino.

Levi Starks said...

It seems to me that if the building of a ski resort will cause the grizzly spirit to abandon a people whom depend on its guidance, that perhaps the grizzly spirit is not worthy of the respect it's being given.
I recommend that the indigenous people's of the area reconsider their allegiance to a spirit that would show such callous indifference to their needs.

Rusty said...

Then they should have been better organized in the resistance of western expansion.

Grizzly Bear in the sky, huh?
Why not.

Mike Sylwester said...

This is what happens when a Scientific Progressive is allowed to become a Civil Liberties Association executive director.

Levi Starks said...

It seems the fact that they find themselves in this current situation, (one of being oppressed by a government that doesn't care for their spiritual needs) would call in to question the guidance the Grizzly spirit has given thus far.

Alexander said...

There's a very valuable lesson here:

If you care - or think that maybe one day your great-great-grandchildren will care - about your religion and culture being respected, then it is essential to be both willing and able to remain homogeneous and expel invading people.

Now granted, you have a lot less control over foreign bacteria than you have over refusing to procreate and allowing your enemies to catch you to you technologically while you focus on feminists studies. Rough deal for the Grizzly Bears. But I'm not fooled for a minute into thinking that Mohammad or Tyrone or Pedro will, in 2200, lose a wink of sleep ensuring that White Reservations exist, let alone that they have an opportunity to argue for their religious expression in a court of law.

And curiously, the same people that scream about oil pipelines or hotel resorts... never seem to demand the return of Hagia Sofia. Why is that?

Bill Crawford said...

Can't the grizzly bear spirit defend itself? As The Hulk said to Loki in The Avengers, "Puny god."

tim in vermont said...

Sort of like all of the saints' relics that didn't protect people from the Black Plague in Europe. It kind of shook confidence in the Catholic Church.

Still, I don't think we should be flip with indigenous people's rights and concerns, even if it is sort of impossible to know how genuine they are.

Laslo Spatula said...

It's a good movie set-up:

Developers put ski resort on sacred Indian land.

Horrible accidents begin to happen.

During construction a worker gets his arm torn off by machinery that mysteriously turns back on after he put it off.

Another worker is crushed by a bulldozer.

When the resort is finally built the mishaps continue.

A ski lift chair detaches and plummets from a great height, killing the skiers on the chair.

A skier is accidentally impaled through the skull by his own ski pole.

Another skier falls into a deep crevice that opens beneath him, then closes again.

This leads to the developer, near bankrupt from his 'haunted' resort and beset by nightmares, runs off into the woods, where he is devoured by a grizzly.

The resort is abandoned. Spirits of bears roam the halls. It is their place again.

There will also be a topless scene by a female Native American Expert. She is white and blonde, though.

Of course.


I am Laslo.



MadisonMan said...

I don't see the equivalence. If the Temple Mount or Church of the Nativity were destroyed, how does that affect my faith? These are places I've never been to, and they don't hold much power over me, and indeed I could question whether it's been proven they are really what they are claimed to be -- 2000 years is a long time for memories to change.

A better argument, perhaps, could be made by equating it to Mecca -- a location that *is* sacred to a religion. Have to wonder why the comparison to Islam wasn't made.

Bad arguing by a lawyer. I'm not surprised.

bagoh20 said...

How do they know the Grizzly is not down with this development, maybe even the very source it, the guiding force, the inspiration? His spirit will bring many garbage cans full of food and free the bears from their harsh brutal existence in the wild. Jesus wore sandals and rags, but look how far the Catholic church has come from that with his spirit. The native peoples deserve no less.

MadisonMan said...

@Laslo -- that is perfect! Start writing the screenplay, man, you'll make a fortune!

Too bad Iron Eyes Cody is dead.

Michael P said...

Recognizing that the First Amendment doesn't apply in Canada, let me turn the question about substantial burden on its head: If the government blocks construction of the ski resort only because of the religious beliefs of third parties, does that qualify as government establishment of religion?

rhhardin said...

Topless scenes mostly come in by way of inexplicable visits to strip clubs, which perhaps the resort could have.

Hagar said...

The beliefs of Indian tribes have been used and misused for so many purposes that it is very difficult to tell what is real from what is not.
And lawyers are great liars.

Hagar said...

Especially when they think they are on a mission from God.

rhhardin said...

The native Americans were set back by failure to invent the wheel, and firewater.

Laslo Spatula said...

I forgot the scene where the Indians chant around a fire going "HOO haa haa haa haa HOO haa haa HAA" and dance an Authentic Hollywood Indian Dance.

There. That should do it.

I am Laslo.

MayBee said...

A better argument, perhaps, could be made by equating it to Mecca

Good point by MadMan.
The world is full of sacred places like churches and burial places being rebuilt and repurposed by people of other religions or cultures.
Rome in general
The Haggia Sophia also comes to mind

Bob Ellison said...

"Obviously, these cases only happen because the Native Americans do not — not in a legal sense — own the land."

This is the first I've heard of that concept. (I should have known about it more, since I grew up in Arizona, surrounded by real reservations and by emotional reservations about them.)

The tribes own the land in the sense that they do what they want with them, even building casinos and selling cigarettes without observance of U.S. laws. Maybe the individual members don't own them individually or collectively, but that's their affair.

I grew up knowing that tribe members had more rights than I had. They could jump off the reservation and be regular old U.S. citizens, or they could stay on the rez and collect their casino checks. These classist definitions stink.

rhhardin said...

You can't own land, you can't own a horse or a dog or a waterfall, you can only own a casino.

- Kinky Friedman, in mystic truth Indian voice

tcrosse said...

Laslo, this offers many more opportunities for nude scenes. Talk to the sketchy guy at the porn store.

rhhardin said...

Things went downhill spiritually when the Hekawi opened a casino.

rhhardin said...

The trouble is that everyting about Indian culture is risible.

LakeLevel said...

"Sacred land" arguments are usually total bullshit. The Dakota Indians (all the Indians I have known prefer that term to "native American") have lived in the Dakotas for less than 300 years. They were pushed out of Minnesota by the Ojibwe who got better weapons from the British in Canada. The Sioux (Dakota) in turn, exterminated all the tribes in the Dakotas. And yet everything is "Sacred"; the Dakota Access pipeline, the Black hills, everything. It's just a scam perpetrated on useful idiots.

Fabi said...

There's a ski resort in Bethlehem?

rhhardin said...

Pic-a-nic baskets!

rhhardin said...

Obviously it could be an indian romantic comedy. The guy would have a firewater problem.

rhhardin said...

No squaw for you.

David Begley said...

Did the Grizzly Bear Spirit rise from the dead after three days; per numerous witnesses?

Fake equivalence.

rhhardin said...

Indians had medicine men, but did they have explicit comedians.

rhhardin said...

Medicine women too, today.

rhhardin said...

"Do you think she'd come across for two bucks?"

Indian punch line

boycat said...

Obviously an item just waiting for Justin "Little Fidel" Trudeau to weightily weigh in on.

rhhardin said...

Wampum talk

Indian investment cable show

rhhardin said...

Forked tongue

Indian detective cable show

Kevin said...

"Obviously, these cases only happen because the Native Americans do not — not in a legal sense — own the land."

Ronald Coase assured me this would not matter. Perhaps the developer could set up a profitable grizzly bear exhibit, ensuring some portion of the Great Grizzly Bear Spirit stays where it's damned-well supposed to?

Laslo Spatula said...

If it was a Spirit Weasel instead of a Grizzly Bear we would not even be having this conversation.

I am Laslo.

Fritz said...

Give back Manhattan Island.

Owen said...

I was going to award Threadwinner Trophy to rhhardin for the opening comment but then was (as usual) awed by Laslo's contribution. It invites immediate development and there is obviously rich potential for sequels. Freddy Kruger and Jason could eventually face off, in Chapter XXIX, against the Great Bear Spirit.

Regarding tribal rights: yes, individuals enjoy whatever use of the land that the tribe allows. The tribe is the sovereign entity and holds all the power. Here in CT the tribes run casinos and there was much controversy over whether the Mashantucket Pequot tribe had gone extinct before it --very conveniently-- appeared in the form of Skip Hayward and a few others who were able to convince Congress they were a tribe deserving of Federal recognition with rights to a chunk of swampland that somehow, between Congress' vote and the actual passage of the law, was enlarged to include better ground and road frontage on which Foxwoods Casino now stands. see "Without Reservation" by Jeff Benedict.

Old lesson: where there is money to be made, all sorts of people turn up. Some of them claim an old unrecorded fraction in your fancy new facility. Others allege inventorship in your patent. Still others, yet more inventive, can construct oral histories in which their people have always called this holy ground. On it goes.

gspencer said...

Did any MSM reporter get Timothy Treadwell's opinion[*] on disturbing the bears or their spirit?

[*] Or, in the absence of Timothy himself, that of his mother?

Laslo Spatula said...

MadisonMan said...
"Too bad Iron Eyes Cody is dead."

He was my favorite Italian Indian.

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

This old teepee

Do-it-yourself show

gspencer said...

"The trouble is that everyting about Indian culture is risible."

Just wait until you begin to learn about Islam.

But one of the first things you'll learn about Islam is that if you point out any one of the truthful/factual aspects about it that shows Islam, its so-called prophet or Muslims in a bad light, then Muslims will set out to kill you.

rhhardin said...

The PTB Club

Indian religious cable show

Fernandinande said...

Laslo Spatula said...
MadisonMan said..."Too bad Iron Eyes Cody is dead."
He was my favorite Italian Indian.


Thanks for spoiling my useful idiocy, dude - I thought Iron Eyes was Armenian.

rhhardin said...
Trade it for a casino.


The Ktunaxa Nation Council is less than a mile from the Casino of the Rockies and the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino. St. Eugene died about 1000 years before Indians were invented.

Michael K said...

The Indians weakened their argument considerably when they bet the farm, so to speak, on Kennewick Man.

The skull, while clearly old, did not look Native American. At first glance, Chatters thought it might belong to an early pioneer or trapper. But the teeth were cavity-free (signaling a diet low in sugar and starch) and worn down to the roots—a combination characteristic of prehistoric teeth. Chatters then noted something embedded in the hipbone. It proved to be a stone spearpoint, which seemed to clinch that the remains were prehistoric. He sent a bone sample off for carbon dating. The results: It was more than 9,000 years old.

This was a huge step in understanding the prehistoric situation in North America. However, the local INdians had another idea.

a coalition of Columbia River Basin Indian tribes and bands claimed the skeleton under a 1990 law known as the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA. The tribes demanded the bones for reburial. “Scientists have dug up and studied Native Americans for decades,” a spokesman for the Umatilla tribe, Armand Minthorn, wrote in 1996. “We view this practice as desecration of the body and a violation of our most deeply-held religious beliefs.”

It took ten years to get any access to the bones by scientists.

almost ten years after the skeleton was found, the scientists were given 16 days to examine it. They did so in July of 2005 and February of 2006.

From these studies, presented in superabundant detail in the new book, we now have an idea who Kennewick Man was, how he lived, what he did and where he traveled. We know how he was buried and then came to light. Kennewick Man, Owsley believes, belongs to an ancient population of seafarers who were America’s original settlers. They did not look like Native Americans. The few remains we have of these early people show they had longer, narrower skulls with smaller faces. These mysterious people have long since disappeared.


The fight goes on.








Ipso Fatso said...

May I suggest minor scene in Laslo's epic?

A guy, me, sitting all day by a one arm bandit in the newly constructed casino, dropping dollar coin after dollar coin with no return, dressed in a Chicago Bears jersey and Bear hat.

I am not Laslo.

Ann Althouse said...

"There will also be a topless scene by a female Native American Expert. She is white and blonde, though."

And wearing granny glasses.

rhhardin said...

The casino pays off in Sacagawea coins.

holdfast said...

Oh gag me with a fork.

Every single goddamn square inch of British Columbia is claimed by some Native group, and in many cases there are two or more overlapping claims. It's mostly just a shakedown, with a large dollop of deluded SJW on the side.

Instead of looking at the resort as a source of desperately needed jobs and growth, these idiots rant about spirit bears (the latest scam perpetrated by numerous native groups) while down on earth their kids have no jobs and sit around sniffing gas and drinking rubbing alcohol. Yes, really.

rhhardin said...

Sewing with Buckskin

women's show

carrie said...

We have skied at Ski Apache which is a ski resort in New Mexico operated by the Mescalero Apache in the shadow of the Apache's sacred mountain, White Mountain (Sierra Blanca Peak) where the creator gave the Mescalero Apache life. The Apache did a good job of telling visitors about their culture and history at Ski Apache and at the Inn of the Mountain Gods where we stayed--the Inn had a huge window wall that look out upon White Mountain and it was a spectacular view. It seems to me that religious beliefs should be respected in areas like this but that there is a way to satisfy both sides. On the other hand, Canada is a big place with lots of undeveloped areas that could be ski resort sites.

holdfast said...

The movie Deadpool notwithstanding, strip clubs in BC are full nudity. That's why the seats right by the stage are called gynecology row.

madAsHell said...

The roadside to Whistler is littered with street signs using imaginary punctuation, and an unpronounced alphabet claiming to be the first nation name. The Haida, the Tulalip and other tribes of the pacific north west had no written language.

rhhardin said...

Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, didn't care;
The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
The bear's big mouth was cruel and cavernous.
The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you,
How do, Isabel, now I'll eat you!
Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry.
Isabel didn't scream or scurry.
She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up,
Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.

Fernandinande said...

Michael K said...
These mysterious people have long since disappeared.


The mysterious people are hiding in Colville!

"In order to resolve Kennewick Man’s ancestry and affiliations, we have sequenced his genome to ~1× coverage and compared it to worldwide genomic data including for the Ainu and Polynesians.
...
We therefore conclude based on genetic comparisons that Kennewick Man shows continuity with Native North Americans over at least the last eight millennia."

holdfast said...

@carrie - sure but most are in the middle of nowhere. There's a monetary and environmental cost to blasting a new road through hundreds of miles of mountains, or to flying everyone in. Red Mountain near Trail, BC has fantastic skiing, but it's in the middle of bloody nowhere, so it will never be a major resort.

This is rust Redmail (Indian blackmail), combined with Greenie-Luddism.

MadisonMan said...

This entire comment thread is what makes Althouse worth reading.

Glad my office mate doesn't work Fridays so he can't see me shake with suppressed laughter.

CWJ said...

The far side cartoon of two Grizlies waiting at the top of a moving chairlift draws itself. Captioned "This is even easier than catching salmon!"

JAORE said...

Here in Alabamistan we have a single Federally recognized tribe, the Poarch Creek. There were other tribes with ties to Alabama, but they have no tribal land. The PC tribe strives mightily to keep others from being recognized. It turns out the whole pie tastes sweeter than a slice.

There is a parcel of land on a nearby river where the original Creek Nation (including several tribes beyond the Poarch Creek) "Capital" was thought to have been located. Many, many burial sites.

The land was bought by the Alabama Historic Commission to keep the site safe from development. They eventually gave the land to the PC. It seemed reasonable, the PC fought like tigers to keep any remains from being removed for road projects, NAGPRA being just one tool. But the agreement came with a stipulation that the PC not develop the land for ten years.

After 10 years the casino development began. The PC then offered to repatriate (rebury with suitable ceremony/cost) on their site.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

I'm late to the party, but could be enrolled as a Mattaponi should I wish (I do not), and all this First Nation (native American) stuff is just so much nonsense. It would be as if three Roman Catholics claimed to have had some vision of the Blessed and Ever-Virgin Mary in some back-woods draw where they wished to pave a road or something and made a fuss that it should not be done.

Of course if Mary was Ever-Virgin, no wonder they made Joseph a Saint, but that's another discussion.

There's already a damned mosque on top of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, and you have a pwobwem with some grizzly-bear spirit who might be upset with skiers? Sheesh.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Fabi,
"There's a ski resort in Bethlehem?"

No, but the Roman soldiers gambled for Jesus' robe when he was on the cross, so there is a precedent to have a casino in Jerusalem.

Roughcoat said...

The Sioux (Dakota) in turn, exterminated all the tribes in the Dakotas.

They didn't quite exterminate them, but they did drive severely reduce their numbers and power, where they did not simply drive them out of the region. A populous nation, the Sioux were inveterate imperialists who waged constant wars of aggression and conquest against the peoples who occupied the lands before their arrival in the Upper Missouri basin. The Absaroka (Crow) hated the Sioux for that reason and served loyally and well as scouts for the U.S. Army forces in the latter's campaigns against the Sioux.

Peter said...

" I don't think we should be flip with indigenous people's rights and concerns, even if it is sort of impossible to know how genuine they are."

Sometimes it seems as if tribal representatives are determined to simply claim that everything is sacred (and therefore may not be defiled, and, yes they'll decide what "defile" means in all contexts). But if everything/everyplace is sacred, then perhaps nothing/no place is? Or is that just a little to "flip"?

But what we really want to know is, what standards (if any) can courts use to test the validity of such claims? Is there a court dedicated to adjudicating unfalsifiable claims?

mikee said...

Neil Gaiman, in American Gods, and Terry Pratchett, in Small Gods, touch upon the questions raised in this situation. Belief sustains gods, in both instances. The question might be put to the believers in the Grizzly Spirit, what exactly keeps the god on the mountain? Perhaps then an accommodation might be possible.

I'm betting the Spirit will be accommodated for less than $5,000,000, when all is said and done.

tcrosse said...

Compare and contrast:
We should respect the religious feelings of Bear Worshippers who do not want a resort built on sacred ground.
We should not respect the religious feelings of Christians who don't want to bake a cake for a gay wedding.

EMD said...

"Perhaps then an accommodation might be possible."

Like a penthouse suite in the lodge?

Rusty said...

Roughcoat said...
The Sioux (Dakota) in turn, exterminated all the tribes in the Dakotas.

They didn't quite exterminate them, but they did drive severely reduce their numbers and power, where they did not simply drive them out of the region. A populous nation, the Sioux were inveterate imperialists who waged constant wars of aggression and conquest against the peoples who occupied the lands before their arrival in the Upper Missouri basin. The Absaroka (Crow) hated the Sioux for that reason and served loyally and well as scouts for the U.S. Army forces in the latter's campaigns against the Sioux.

The Sioux were originally a forest people. After the wars with the Huron, the Huron pushed the Ojibwa into those forest lands occupied by the Sioux. The Sioux were pushed out onto the prairie where they were systematically abused by the other plains tribes until they grew numerous enough to push their rivals further south and west. And then they got horses.