sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ, Syilx Okanagan Territory: From September 16-18, 2022, Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, youth and community members from across the Syilx Okanagan Nation will gather at sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ (Okanagan Falls), a culturally significant site that was formally a part of the Osoyoos Indian Reserve, to take part in the annual Salmon Feast. This year’s gathering is particularly significant due to the historic runs of sc’win that are taking place this year on Syilx territory, and the opportunities to express the gratitude for the salmons return.
One of the Nation’s goals is to further the responsibilities and teachings to be keepers of our waters, territory, lands, foods, and resources. This knowledge has been passed on by our ancestors and Elders, who have always taught the importance of preserving and revitalizing the traditions, customs, and language of the Syilx people. Central to the Salmon Feast is honouring the sacredness of the river at sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ (Okanagan Falls), an important traditional fishing camp, gathering place and trading site. The Salmon Feast involves multiple events and activities including, educational activities, a stick game tournament, local artisans showcasing their work, a canoe paddle where nation members are able to also pray on the water, and on Sunday a salmon feast and ceremony for snx̌aʔiwləm (to honour the sacredness of the river).
“The historic return of salmon to Syilx territory that took place this year demonstrates how significant and important Syilx cultural gatherings like the Salmon Feast are for our people. By enacting our inherent responsibilities to the water and the timxw, we are ensuring that salmon will continue to return to feed our peoples and lands for generations to come. These salmon returns are not only an integral part of our culture but are also central to our food sovereignty and the capacity of our communities to be able to provide for themselves, “stated Chief Clarence Louie, ONA Tribal Chair.
It is vitally important that we honour the salmon so they will always come back to feed the people.
The Salmon Feast is a traditional annual gathering that connects to the ongoing organized efforts of the Okanagan Nation Alliance to raise awareness around the importance of the habitat protection and rehabilitation of local ecosystems, watersheds, alongside promoting a renewed connection and relationship between all residents of the Region with water and fish.
For more info please contact:
Chief Clarence Louie, ONA Tribal Chair
Tara Montgomery, ONA Communications
T: 1.250.707.0095 ext. 120