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The Kootenay region encompasses 57,720 square kilometres of land in the southeast corner of B.C. and is the second smallest region in the province. Largely rural in nature, the region extends from Radium Hot Springs in the north to the US border in the south, and from the city of Greenwood in the west across the Monashee, Selkirk, and Purcell Mountains to the Municipality of Sparwood in the Rocky Mountains to the east. Cranbrook is the largest population and commercial centre in the region. Approximately 1% of the region’s 148,300 residents are First Nations.
The pristine rivers, lakes, waterfalls, beaches, mineral hot springs, alpine meadows and snow-capped mountains of the Kootenay region are primarily the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa ethnic group, who have inhabited the area (as well as parts of modern-day Montana, Washington and Idaho) since time immemorial. It is the Ktunaxa after whom the region draws its name. The Ktunaxa are linguistically distinct from other First Nations. The western stretches of the Kootenay region are also considered traditional Okanagan and Secwepemc territory.