Land Code

What is the ʔaq̓am Land Code Development Initiative?

The ʔaq̓am Land Code Initiative was initiated by Chief & Council in 2011 when they signed onto the Framework Agreement on First Nations Land Management.  This was done to pursue greater control at the local governance level to manage our Community’s on-reserve lands and resources.  This initiative is a form of self-government that offers an alternative land management regime to many of the sections of the Indian Act. 

In other words, Chief & Council are pursuing, on behalf of the Community, greater local control of our on-reserve lands and resources in order to more efficiently meet many of the goals and objectives found within Ka Kniⱡwitiyaⱡa (Our Community Strategic Plan).

For more information, please visit the First Nations Land Management Resource Centre at

What is a Land Code? 

Under the First Nations Land Management regime, ʔaq̓am Chief & Council are enabled to develop a set of laws specific to our reserve lands that will allow us to better manage our lands, resources, and environment under a Land Code.  Our Community-specific Land Code is the set of laws that we will develop that will allow us to opt-out of many lands-related sections of the Indian Act. 

This will allow us to self-govern our lands, at a local level, and in relation to our Community’s values and principles.

How does the Land Code come into force? 

The Land Code document itself will be voted on by the eligible voting population of ʔaq̓am Members.  A vote will be held mid-2014 wherein the majority of voters who come to the polls will need to agree to the implementation of the Land Code.  Prior to this time, numerous meetings and consultation opportunities will be provided for ʔaq̓am Community members to learn more about the Land Code and provide feedback in its development.

What are the benefits in pursuing a Land Code?

Chief & Council is pursuing the Land Code in relation to the many benefits and pathways it will provide for us to realize elements of Ka Kniⱡwitiyaⱡa.  These elements within our Community Strategic Plan were developed and guided by ʔaq̓am Community Members.

Qanikitȼi - Values & Principles: The ʔaq̓am Land Code will allow us to manage our on-reserve lands in accordance with Ktunaxa values and principles and in conjunction with our Community’s core values and practices.

Ka ʔamaknaⱡa ȼ ʔaquxaxniyam - Lands & Resources: A Land Code will allow ʔaq̓amnik’ people and Chief & Council to make decision in relation to on-reserve land management independent of the Indian Act and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC).

K̓itknikȼiyam qapsinam/niⱡku - Economy: A Land Code will allow Chief & Council to make more timely business and administrative decisions while also leading to greater economic opportunities for the benefit of all ʔaq̓amnik’ people.

ʔaknumuȼtiⱡiⱡ ʔakikⱡuʔnam - Community Government: A Community-based Land Code ensures that we recognize our Ktunaxa traditions as we move forward using this modern governance tool to ensure we are developing effective, efficient and accountable structures to effectively govern our lands independently.

What else should I know? 

It is important to know that the ʔaq̓am Land Code will not impose or impact:

  • The Ktunaxa Treaty process
  • Taxation
  • Ktunaxa Rights & Title
  • Additions to Reserve
  • Land Claims
  • Certificates of Possession (CPs)

The final decision on ratifying the Land Code is only up to the voting population of the St. Mary’s Band membership.  Nothing will be finalized or ratified without membership input and approval.

What can I do?

  1. Ask Questions. Get informed. Contact your Chief & Council or contact the Director of Lands & Resources.
  2. Tell all your family and friends to get informed.
  3. Participate in upcoming events. We will keep everyone posted on the website as well as regular flyers and bulletins.
  4. Come out and vote when the date is set!  Polling stations will be made accessible to all members, regardless of your location.

Questions?  Just ask us!

Keep visiting this page for up-to-date information.

Contact our Lands & Resources Office

Director of Lands & Natural Resources: Julie Couse, 250-426-5717 x.3531,

Or Contact your Chief & Council.

Chief & Council, 250-426-5717