A Nation Monument – located on the Penticton Indian Band reserve
The Nation Monument is to commemorate all former Syilx Indian Residential school students. Its design and location has stemmed from the TRC Elders Council.
The location for the monument is on the Penticton Indian Band lands, in front of the Okanagan Nation Hatchery building. This site was chosen due to its centrality and proximity to where Syilx children were picked up by the train and cattle truck and were then transported to an Indian residential school. The hatchery is also significant as its Syilx name is translated into “To Cause to Come Back”. The children in our communities have been crucial in helping with the return of the Salmon after over 75 years. The monument, from its conception is to have a textured concrete wall feature with story boards that share information on the history of the Okanagan Nation Indian Residential School Experience and our resilience to still be here!
It has a bear and salmon to represent protection and the future. The area will serve as a beautiful seating area to rest and to reflect. Steps to complete the Nation Monument for an unveiling are fairly minor and are in process.
Each Syilx Nation community has developed a commemorative project that will encourage community members to gather and to remember, or learn about the Syilx Indian residential school experiences. The commemorative sites will serve as gathering places that can be used by our communities for cultural activities that reinforce Syilx traditional and spiritual values.
Penticton Indian Band (PIB)
This monument is located at the Health Centre. The concept encompasses precise interpretation with everything having a meaning. Designed by Clint George, called “Never Again,” where it is declared, open and proudly, that they will never let their children be taken again!.
The Child on top looking down represents the past and what our people have lost. The child below holding the skipping rope symbolizes innocence and play. The sister holding the child hands represents guidance and caring, and the boy holding the rope symbolizes that our people were once free to be hard workers. The Biggest Brother is facing east towards the sun, which symbolizes change, while he prays for our people and culture. The waterfall represents the past, present and future, and the water, purity and how close our people are to the creator. The staffs on each side that mirror each other were designed by Joey Pierre, the seven feathers to represent all the Okanagan Territory.
There is a bucket of prayer stones collected from OUTMA Band Operated School students to place in the water fountain always available on site.
Westbank First Nation (WFN)
The monument is located at their Elders building and was designed by Smoker Marchand. WFN hosted their Indian residential monument ceremony on April 25th, 2013 where 20 members participated. The monument bares seven generations to honour Indian residential school survivors, their families and those who have passed on. The elder symbolizes the passing of knowledge to the other generations, the drum symbolizes resiliency and the heartbeat of our lives, and that is why all figures are positioned on top. WFN Monument featured on page 2
Upper Nicola Band (UNB)
The monument is located in Douglas Lake.
They have designed and constructed their monument to look like an Arbor. It is intended to be used as a place for gathering outdoors, with seating and an outdoor BBQ. It is a place for healing and feasting together as a community for all the generations.
Lower Similkameen Indian Band (LSIB)
Intended to keep the focus on culture and healing the monument at LSIB doesn’t reflect anything about Indian residential school experiences. The healing areas are splashed across different locations at LSIB’s grounds. Firstly, at the entrance you can see statues of women harvesting traditional food surrounded by landscaping from traditional plants such as Siya bushes. The second area contains an elaborate rock wall feature that surrounds a belvedere with benches for a rest area and a propane fire pit in the centre. These spaces represent peace, tranquility and culture.
Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB)
OIB’s concept was also to have an outdoor multi-functional space to their people can gather in positive ways. The roof is of a hat embellished with feathers, which go back into early tradition to represent the hereditariness of their people and culture. This monument includes an outdoor built-in barbeque, with capabilities to host meals. A plaque of the names of all OIB’s former students will be mounted, as soon as they have collected all the names. Completed?