March 22nd, 2018

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: On March 22, 2018, as part of World Water Day, the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) hosted our 4th siwɬkʷ (Water) Forum. This event brought together 85 people, including Syilx leadership, elders, traditional knowledge keepers and community members, alongside regional and provincial government, NGO representatives and academics to connect out on the land, share perspective and build a collective siwɬkʷ (water) consciousness. The Okanagan Basin Water Board and BC Ministry of Forest, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, both ONA partners on the Environmental Flow Needs project were present, continuing to develop and build on working relationships necessary for better water management within the Territory. Participants engaged in dialogue on drinking water protection, wetlands, and other important issues to uptake all our responsibilities to manage water responsibly.

The tour began with a Syilx Water Ceremony on nx̌ʷaqʷaʔstn (Mission Creek). Attendees then toured the watershed with Syilx elder’s and knowledge holders who shared place names, protocols, and the Syilx natural laws regarding ukʷnakinx (Okanagan) watershed. These Syilx guides exhibited how water centric planning and management is a long-standing concept that Syilx people continue to practice as fundamental guiding principles.

Other stops on the tour included the kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery, Penticton Oxbows Restoration site, and significant Syilx siwɬkʷ (water) places. These visits allowed for a deeper conversation to take place in regards to the need for continuing to develop water partnerships in the region. “When I think of how important Water is for all living beings in balance and harmony with the natural world, I think of the original agreement of Creation.  We as indigenous Peoples know and understand how we are inter-dependent on clean, safe, drinking water which was put here for us by the Creator.  It is all of our responsibility to be educated about the sacredness of Water,” stated Chief Chad Eneas, Penticton Indian Band .

The Syilx Nation envision a sustainable Territorial land, culture, and ways of life hundreds of years from now. By managing our land responsibly today, we entrust our future generations to a healthy land base and clean waters.

ONA recognize World Water Day and all the efforts globally that provide a deeper recognition to the sacredness of our water, a key to the future of our shared survival. In July 2014, the Okanagan Nation Alliance endorsed the Syilx Water Declaration. The Syilx Water Declaration serves as a living document on our relations and values to water. As it states “The Okanagan Nation has accepted the unique responsibility bestowed upon us by the Creator to serve for all time as protectors of the lands and waters in our territories, so that all living things return to us regenerated. When we take care of the land and water, the land and water takes care of us. This is our law.” For more information visit:

For further information please contact:

Lisa Wilson, ONA Natural Resource Department Manager

T: 1-250-707-0095 ext. 221 E:

Syilx Language House Association Year 3 Interim Report

March 2nd, 2018

The Syilx Language House Association (SLHA) are reporting midway through the third year of their four-year language program. They are delivering best-practices and community language priorities. Their mission is to create advanced speakers and record Elders. They owe their success to the Paul Creek Curriculum and to commitment—of their students and teachers, of their Bands, […]

Syilx Okanagan Nation Calls for Justice Reform

March 1st, 2018

(Syilx Territory: Westbank, BC) – Community members from the Syilx Okanagan Nation gathered at the Penticton Courthouse on Monday February 26, 2018 to rally against the systemic injustices exposed by the deaths of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine. The deaths highlight how Canada’s legal system continues to fail Indigenous people. Earlier this month, an all-white […]

Seeking Our snaqsilx Gathering to Connect Syilx Youth with Employment Opportunities

February 5th, 2018

Media Release – Seeking Our Snaqsilx Gathering Westbank, Okanagan Territory: From February 5-6, 2017, Okanagan Nation Alliance’s (ONA) BRIDGE’s program, in Partnership with Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, and Okanagan Indian Band’s Pre-Employment Support team, are hosting a networking event at the Penticton Lakeside Resort, which brings Syilx youth and front line workers ( […]

Working Partnerships Advance Protection of ki?lawna? (Grizzly Bear) and Other Threatened Wildlife

January 12th, 2018

Westbank), Syilx Territory: The ONA has been taking action to reduce pressures on ki?lawna? and recover threatened populations. Most recently, in collaboration with ONA, Clayton Lamb at the University of Alberta Department of Biological Sciences, released the results of a new study that provides insight on the relationships between ki?lawna? and road density. The results […]

To Honor and Educate, Unveiling of Syilx Indian Residential School Monument

November 28th, 2017

snpíntktn (Penticton), Syilx Territory: Today the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) held an official public unveiling ceremony for the new Syilx Indian Residential School monument. This monument is placed where the train and the cattle trucks came to gather Syilx children and take them away to Indian Residential Schools, next to the kł cpə̓ lk) stim̓ […]

Project in Progress: Penticton Channel PIT Array Installation

November 28th, 2017

From November 28-30, 2017, Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) and Penticton Indian Band (PIB) crews will be working together to install four PIT (Passive Integrated Transponders) arrays in the Penticton channel, just north of the former KVR bridge. These arrays are used to record the movement of any PIT tagged fish species that use the channel […]

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and Joan Phillip win 2017 Eugene Rogers Environmental Award

November 27th, 2017

Courtesy of the Wilderness Committee VANCOUVER – The Wilderness Committee is awarding the 2017 Eugene Rogers Environmental Award to Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and Joan Phillip at the Wilderness Committee’s Annual Open House. They were chosen for their decades of commitment to preserving and protecting lands, waters and the environment for future generations. They have […]

Honouring Syilx Indian Residential School Survivors With Unveiling of Nation Monument

November 24th, 2017

snpíntktn (Penticton), Syilx Territory: On November 28, 2017, the Okanagan Nation Alliance will hold an official public unveiling ceremony for the new Syilx Indian Residential School monument. All Syilx Nation members and the general public are invited to attend this significant ceremony. This monument is dedicated to all Syilx people who went to Indian Residential […]


November 8th, 2017

Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is pleased to announce that the Syilx Indian Residential Committee have officially selected artist ‘Smoker’ Virgil Marchand to procure the art for the monument. ‘Smoker’, himself a survivor of the Indian Residential School system at St. Mary’s Mission boarding school, will create the art, which will be an essential part of […]