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.