Syilx Okanagan food systems are deeply rooted in territory and articulated in captikwl.
Restoring, maintaining, protecting and practicing our Indigenous food systems is foundational and central to the well-being of Syilx Okanagan communities and way of life. ONA contributes to the wide range of traditional food initiatives that are carried out by communities, organizations and individuals throughout the Nation ensuring that our food systems continue despite ongoing challenges.
Syilx Okanagan People have been and continue to be nourished by a wealth of biodiversity including fish, wild game, berries, roots, and medicines. Hunting and gathering these resources requires a localized knowledge that is dictated by the seasonal cycles of the land. Syilx Okanagan families have always and continue to be united by the hunting, fishing, harvesting, and gathering of food as the traditional gathering of these foods on the land is ceremony itself and demonstrates honour and respect for the tmixʷ (all living things). As caretakers of the land, it is the Syilx Okanagan right to utilize the land and water to the best of its abilities, so that future generations may gather from those same places. Life within Syilx Okanagan communities is built upon respect. To care for the land is to care for the people.
Long before the term had emerged, Syilx Okanagan Peoples practiced “food sovereignty” through our sustainable hunting, fishing and gathering practices. These practices recognized and honoured our sacred responsibilities to the tmixʷ and the nourishment that is provided. The current term indigenous food sovereignty, and food security movement in general, have a long-standing history that have continued to evolve over the last few decades. As our contemporary work in this field continues to evolve, we recognize the responsibilities are inherent to engage and collaborate with a wide range of networks, organizations and individuals to ensure that further advocating for the indigenous food sovereignty matters remains successful.
Slow Food Partnership
The partnerships being fostered and developed between Slow Food and Indigenous Tribes are mutually beneficial and increasingly share vision and values. Thus, it is not surprising that the ONA and Slow Food Thompson Okanagan Convivium are pursuing an on-going dialogue in regards to regional traditional foods systems, security and resilience.
The Slow Food Okanagan Sockeye Presidium aims to assist in protecting, enhancing, and conserving sockeye salmon, while promoting the restoration strategies of the salmon stocks undertaken by the Indigenous peoples of the Columbia River.
Under the direction of the Syilx Okanagan Leadership and members, it is their ability to be as determined and tenacious as the salmon to return to their original teaching, language, resiliency and cultural knowing. Like the salmon, they have remained true to their beginnings – true guardians and defenders of their land, resources and peoples.
For more information:
Regional Food Organizations
BC Food Systems Network/Indigenous Food Systems Network: http://www.indigenousfoodsystems.org
En’owkin Centre: www.enowkincentre.ca
Young Agrarians: www.youngagrarians.org
Slow Food International: www.slowfood.com
Slow Food Canada: www.slowfood.ca
Slow Food Thompson/Okanagan: www.sfto.ca
Slow Fish: www.slowfood.com/slowfish/