Trails are on band’s land

Although we knew the Penticton Indian Band’s lands started somewhere to the southwest of Trout Creek Canyon, we had been choosing ignorance.

Dear Editor:

Like many Summerlanders, we’ve enjoyed pedaling and hiking on the trails across the trestle.

Although we knew that the Penticton Indian Band’s lands started somewhere to the southwest of Trout Creek Canyon, we had been choosing willful ignorance about the exact boundaries.

On a recent ride, we met a band member named Elliot who politely informed us that we were trespassing.

Feeling rather sheepish, we asked him about the boundaries and the band’s concerns, and he explained them clearly and calmly.

Aside from the obvious — we were there without permission — he talked about their desire to use that land for ceremonial and gathering purposes (starting immediately), liability concerns, and the landscape damage they’re witnessing as trespassing increases.

Penticton Indian Band signs and fences have been vandalized and torn down.

Basically, our increasing use of their land has made us pretty bad neighbours.

We apologized and said we’d share their frustration with our community.

Here’s hoping we can learn to be better neighbours, starting simply by staying out of their territory.

Jeremy Hiebert

Summerland