Media Release: On the Way to Transforming Primary Care

September 25th, 2020

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Syilx Okanagan Nation Chief’s Executive Council is pleased to support the recent implementation of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) on Syilx territory, in collaboration and partnership with Syilx communities.  Kootenay Boundary and Central Okanagan PCNs have already been announced, adding to the previously implemented South Okanagan PCN partnership with Penticton Indian Band.  The upcoming actions includes South Okanagan PCN Planning with Lower and Upper Similkameen Indian Band and Osoyoos Indian Band; North Okanagan PCN with Okanagan Indian Band; Nicola Valley with Upper Nicola Band; and Revelstoke PCN.  Access to community-based, culturally appropriate primary care services is crucial to the ongoing health of our Syilx citizens and Aboriginal people residing throughout our territory.

Accessibility is an ongoing challenge, with many of our member communities not having regular access to culturally appropriate primary care services.  Trauma, colonization and poverty have played key roles in the limited access to primary care.  The relationship between Indigenous people and health care services has been tenuous.   With the recent announcement of Minister Dix on addressing racism in health care settings, collaborative, culturally appropriate planning and services remains a priority.

While the Primary Care planning process has had its challenges, there are some major achievements — additional FTE’s of family physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, Aboriginal health coordinators and allied health professionals are to be celebrated.  Our members are able to access service in their own community, community relationships with health care providers are able to be built upon, overall improving the health of our members.

The planning process has allowed relationships to be developed and enhanced with the sharing of the reality of health care services in our communities and addressing our community priorities.  Our community health teams have been managing with very little resources and with partnerships are able to provide fuller primary care services in community.

The Kootenay Boundary Aboriginal Services Collaborative was developed to provide a space for Aboriginal people in the area to collaborate for PCNs and other service planning that is a major accomplishment for collaborative planning in the area. While our Nation continues to advocate for a level playing field for health care planning in terms of resources, time, capacity building partnerships, we remain hopeful about the transformation of primary care in Syilx territory.

“Access to health care is crucial to the ongoing wellbeing and social determinants of health for Syilx members, early and good access to primary care can minimize ongoing health and mental health concerns, “ Allan Louis, Syilx Health Governance Representative stated.

Article 21.2 of the UN Declaration Indigenous Peoples outlines that “states shall take effective measure and where appropriate, special measures to ensure the continuing improvement of economic and social conditions.  With particular attention to rights and special needs of indigenous youth, children and persons with disabilities.”

To read about Primary Care Strategy in BC visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0034-001010

For further information please contact:

Allan Louis, Syilx FNHA Representative // 1-250-306-8360

MEDIA RELEASE PCNs


Media Release: `A Way to Cope: Exploring Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in B.C. Youth’

September 18th, 2020

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Syilx Okanagan Nation Chief’s Executive Council acknowledge A Way to Cope: Exploring Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in BC Youth released today by BC’s Representative for Children and Youth (RCY). The RCY had identified non-suicidal self-injury as a trend requiring closer examination. This report hits home highlighting many long standing, critical issues and gaps in service for BC’s youth with the intention of informing decision-makers, service providers and the public.

Serious concerns with BC’s system of care for children and youth with mental health support needs is not new and the Province must recognize the urgency of finding the path forward as outlined in their commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  The RCY has released many reports calling for vast changes within the service delivery system and  the reports are clear, the system is not effectively supporting our youth and as a result, they are left disconnected and in crises, some resulting in death.

Article 21.2 of the UN Declaration Indigenous Peoples outlines that “states shall take effective measure and where appropriate, special measures to ensure the continuing improvement of economic and social conditions.  With particular attention to rights and special needs of indigenous youth, children and persons with disabilities.”

It is reprehensible to learn that cultural connections were viewed as secondary considerations or less, ignoring how cultural connections could serve as a protective factor while multiple reports and best practice research has shown that culturally appropriate care is connected to better outcomes.  The blatant disregard of cultural considerations is unacceptable, our people been calling for the very implementation of cultural ways that have been developed and implemented since time immemorial.

There is a dire need for a fulsome transformation of the mental health system supporting the needs of our children and youth.  One of the report findings is that support is identifying children and youth as unwilling to engage, however it is likely that practitioners do not know how to support and our children and youth are left without critical resources.

Our children and youth are the core of our families and communities; it will take determined action by all people to ensure their proper support, safety and healing.  Syilx families, communities and Nation remain committed to addressing the issues, there is a requirement for partnership, collaboration and acknowledgement that it cannot be done alone.  The work must continue.

We appreciate the work of the RCY, continuing to bring light to these issues and advocating on behalf of children and youth in BC. We uphold our duty and obligation to fully protect, defend, uphold and advance the protection, health and wellbeing of our children and families, as such, we immediately call on the Provincial and Federal Governments to ensure adequate funding to fully transform the mental health system serving children and youth

To read the full report visit: https://rcybc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/RCY_NSSI_Report.FINAL_.pdf

For further information please contact:

Chief Keith Crow, Lower Similkameen Indian Band, ONA CEC Child & Family: 1-250-499-9333

Allan Louis, Syilx FNHA Representative: 1-250-306-8360

Media Release – RCY “A Way to Cope”


‘Fish in Schools’ program reaches 41 participant schools

December 19th, 2019

Syilx Territory, Westbank, BC – The Okanagan Nation Alliance Fish in Schools (FinS) Program is now in 41 participating public and private and Band Operated schools throughout the Syilx Territory as well as the Penticton Museum and Archives, Christina Lake Stewardship Society and the Oliver Correctional facility.

FinS is a comprehensive fish education program for youth, with a focus on sc’win (sockeye salmon), their lifecycle and the importance of their ecosystems. By creating greater awareness of fish species, the intent is for students to become future advocates for both salmon and their habitat.

In the Columbia Region, , this program further cultivates awareness of salmon’s historical runs from the ocean, upstream to the Kettle River, Columbia, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenay Rivers, including major tributaries the Salmo River and Slocan River. The program has doubled in size in the Columbia region this year – which demonstrates the success of the program.

This year the FinS program extends to the Oliver Correctional Facility programs department as well. It will provide inmates with a new educational opportunity in order to contribute to broader knowledge and training necessary to apply for jobs when they are released.

Howie Wright, ONA Fisheries Manager states that “Bringing FinS to the Oliver Correctional Facility will increases awareness on fish culture, sockeye life cycle, and traditional knowledge on what salmon and indigenous fish species means to the Okanagan Syilx people. It also continues to exemplify ONAs ongoing commitment in providing FinS education to as wide an audience as possible.”

The ONA upholds the r responsibility to the tmixw (all living things), our Syilx Okanagan traditional ecological knowledge systems and actively involve our Cultural knowledged keepers that inform our interactions on the land – balanced with the incorporation of western science. Through the integration of these two systems, the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) has been persistent in ensuring that we are restoring and rejuvenating the habitats and ecosystems of the Upper Columbia and Okanagan Basin in the most dynamic way possible. We engage both traditional knowledge and cutting edge science to contribute to protecting and advancing a bio-diverse environment. FinS is a key step in the Syilx Nation’s broader intent to raise awareness and bring salmon back to their original range, having been blocked from returning by dams along the Columbia River in the 1940s.

Over the course of December the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is delivering fish tanks and equipment to all our participants throughout Syilx territory, as part of the Fish in Schools (FinS) program. Egg delivery to FinS participant schools will being in early January 2020. Upon successfully raising the fry, students will include their fry in ceremonial releases that take place throughout the Syilx Territory in 2020.

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The Fish in Schools program has been running successfully since 2003 in the Okanagan region, and contributes to the kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery’s fry release efforts. The kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery is a testament to the perseverance of the Syilx people to realize their dream of restoring the n’titx(Salmon) – one of our Four Food Chiefs – to their original habitat and rightful place in our territory.

For More Information Contact:

Howie Wright, ONA Fisheries Manager          Michael Zimmer, ONA Fisheries Columbia Biologist
Tel: (250) 718-5215                          Tel: (250) 304-7341


FinS Participants

School Districts 8, 10, 20, and 51, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, and Regional District of Central Kootenay

  1. Christina Lake Elementary
  2. Glenmerry Elementary
  3. Hutton Elementary
  4. Kinnaird Elementary
  5. Lucerne Elementary
  6. Robson Community School
  7. Salmo Elementary
  8. South Nelson Elementary
  9. Twin Rivers Elementary
  10. Sentinel Secondary
  11. E. Graham Community School
  12. Fruitvale Elementary
  13. James E. Webster Elementary
  14. Rossland Summit School
  15. Hume Elementary
  16. Michael’s Catholic School
  17. Ecole des Sentiers-alpins
  18. Christina Lake Stewardship Society

In the Okanagan Sub-basin FinS continues to be offered at:

  1. OK Falls Elementary
  2. Oliver Elementary
  3. Osoyoos Elementary
  4. Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary
  5. Senpokchin Elementary
  6. Outma School
  7. Cawston Primary
  8. Columbia Elementary
  9. Wiltse Elementary
  10. Little Paws Daycare
  11. Ntamqen School
  12. South Okanagan Secondary School
  13. John Allison Elementary
  14. Casorso Elementary School
  15. Penticton Excel K-12 Learning Centre
  16. Ellison Elementary
  17. Alexis Park Elementary
  18. Sensisyusten
  19. Enowkin Center
  20. Osoyoos Secondary
  21. Queens Park Elementary,
  22. West Bench Elementary,
  23. KVR Middle School
  24. Kaleden Elementary
  25. Penticton Museum and Archives
  26. Oliver Correctional Facility

FinS Media Release


Okanagan Nation Alliance Destigmatizes The Drug Overdose Crisis With The Purple Ribbon Campaign Caravan

August 28th, 2019

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: From August 27-28, 2019, the Okanagan Nation hosted the
‘Purple Ribbon Campaign Caravan” as part of International Overdose Awareness Day. This Caravan saw people from across the Syilx Okanagan territory rally and travel to various communities, sharing resources and bringing awareness to the issue of the pervasive drug and opioid crisis that is gripping Syilx Okanagan communities, and the Okanagan in general. There is an urgent need to address the stigma that surrounds drug use and overdose, while simultaneously increasing culturally appropriate supports and services to decrease the violence and disruption that our communities face.

A highlight of the caravan included an Awareness Walk, where over 40 people, including Syilx Nation members, as well as many others whose lives have been impacted by the tragedies of addiction and overdose, joined together and walked across the William R. Bennett Bridge to City Park, in Kelowna. This initiative brought light to the issue, and was an opportunity to collectively shed the shame and silence that often isolates those most effected by this crisis.

“I continue to affirm that what we are facing is an overdose emergency, both here on Syilx territory and throughout British Columbia. We know that First Nations people are five times more likely than non-First Nations to experience an overdose. Such stats drive home the fact that these issues have their roots in colonization and the impacts of inequality that continue to reverberate through our communities. As a Nation it is imperative that we come together and take on these pervasive inflictions so that we can heal and move forward together, united as one” states Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

The First Nations Health Authority, Interior Health and the Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton Friendship Centres, alongside the Metis Community Services Society, joined the ONA for the Purple Ribbon Campaign Caravan, which showcased the united front and the collaboration needed to successfully address this crisis.

It is important for anyone facing these issues to know that you are not alone, and that there are resources and supports available to see you through challenging times. For more resources visit:
www.syilx.org/wellness/our-programs-and-services/purple-ribbon-campaign/
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ONA recognizes Purple Ribbon Day – and all the efforts globally – that provide a deeper recognition to the issue of drug addiction and overdoses, alongside all of the victims of the current opioid emergency. Efforts like the Purple Ribbon Campaign Caravan are part of a broader range of programs and activities, including the Nation Drug Forum, that the Nation takes on to actively address the current opioid crisis that is devastating communities throughout the territory.

For further information please contact:
Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip, ONA Chair
T: 1-250-490-5314

Tara Montgomery, ONA Communications Lead
T: 1-250-707-0095 ext. 120 E: tmontgomery@syilx.org

MEDIA RELEASE- Purple Ribbon Campaign Caravan


OKANAGAN NATION ALLIANCE ADDRESS DRUG CRISIS WITH SYILX WELL-BEING: NATION DRUG FORUM

July 31st, 2019

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: On July 31, 2019, the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) will host the “Syilx Well-Being: Nation Drug Forum”. This Drug Forum is part of a broader stream of work carried out by the ONA that affirms our continued commitment to bring awareness to the issue of the pervasive drug and opioid crisis that is gripping Syilx Okanagan communities. There is an urgent need to address the stigma that surrounds drug use and overdose, while simultaneously increasing culturally appropriate supports and services to decrease the violence and disruption that our communities face.

This year’s Drug Forum will include captikwl, a ‘Voices from the People’ Panel and participatory action dialogues and Guest Speakers of families directly impacted by loss due to loss of a child due to this crisis. The Forum will engage Syilx Okanagan leadership, frontline workers, community members, ONA staff and partner agencies in our continued effort to build upon Syilx models for both well-being and resiliency in the face of these most challenging social and community issues.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip states “The overdose crisis constitutes a state of emergency. This crisis is fueled by poverty and inequality, and finds its roots in the devastating trauma of colonization that continues to have a profound impact on our people. If we don’t address these core issues, which includes connections to land and meeting basic needs, our people will continue to suffer. As Syilx People we carry an inherent responsibility to each other, our families and our communities, that no one is left behind, and that we are on the healing path, together as a Nation.”

Events such as the Drug Forum are collaborative efforts that include the support and contribution of partners such as First Nations Health Authority and Interior Health.

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The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) was formed in 1981 as the inaugural First Nations government in the Okanagan, which represents the 8 member communities of the Okanagan Nation. The ONA mandate is to work collectively to advance and assert Syilx Okanagan Nation Title and Rights over the Syilx Okanagan Nation Territory.

MEDIA RELEASE- DRUG FORUM 2019

For further information please contact:

Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip, ONA Chair
T: 1-250-490-5314

Tara Montgomery, ONA Communications Lead
T: 1-250-862-6866 E: tmontgomery@syilx.org


Okanagan Nation Recognizes Coralee Miller as Salmon Feast Artist

July 29th, 2019

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The ONA congratulates Syilx Okanagan Nation member, Coralee Miller, as the artist of the 2019 Okanagan Nation Salmon Feast logo. Every year the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) has a Nation community member create an original design to represent the annual Okanagan Nation Salmon Feast.

As Coralee states ” I am of mixed heritage, but have grown up as Syilx Okanagan in my community of Westbank. I love art and am working to better myself as an artist by attending UBCO. My favourite mediums are sculpture, painting and drawing, as well as the occasional digital work.  I work as a museum asssistant at the Sncewips Heritage Museum and I love it as it is the one job that gives me a chance to contribute my artistic skills to the space. I love meeting new people and sharing my culture through art and through the oral stories that I hold dear.”


Historic Agreement Reached Between Columbia River Basin Indigenous Nations, Canada and British Columbia to Collaborate on Salmon Re-Introduction

July 29th, 2019

In the spirit of partnership and reconciliation, a landmark agreement to explore salmon reintroduction into the Columbia River Basin between the Syilx Okanagan, Ktunaxa and Secwepemc Indigenous Nations, Canada and British Columbia was signed today in Castlegar. The Letter of Agreement is a commitment by the five governments to collaborate on exploring the reintroduction of Pacific anadromous salmon into the Canadian portion of the Upper Columbia River Basin. The reintroduction of salmon into these areas hopes to restore fish stocks to support indigenous food, social and ceremonial needs.

This collaborative effort will complement the current negotiation process between Canada and the United States to modernize the Columbia River Treaty. The Government of Canada is working closely with the Province of British Columbia and the Syilx Okanagan, Ktunaxa and Secwepemc Indigenous Nations to shape Canada’s approach to these negotiations.

Quotes

“The restoration of salmon to all parts of the territory, including that of the Upper Columbia, is part of our inherent rights and responsibilities as Syilx Okanagan People. ntityix (Chief Salmon) is one of our Four Food Chiefs, and a central part of securing Syilx food sovereignty. Moving forward we are dedicated that these efforts not just use the best, cutting edge science, but also align with Syilx Okanagan traditional knowledge, cultural beliefs and practices for successful return of salmon, protection of our waters and the health of the planet”.
– Chief Chad Eneas, Penticton Indian Band

“The Syilx Okanagan Nation remains steadfast in our commitment to salmon reintroduction throughout all parts of the territory, including that of the Upper Columbia. As we have exhibited with the reintroduction of salmon in the Okanagan sub-basin, the Syilx Okanagan Nation have the vision, leadership, and science and technical capacities to ensure that this work is successful. Today represents a monumental step forward, as it will be through partnerships with the Ktunaxa and Secwepemc Nations, as well as the Province of BC and Government of  Canada, that these efforts will be fully realized.”
– Chief Keith Crow, Lower Similkameen Indian Band

“The loss of salmon from ?amakis Ktunaxa (Ktunaxa Nation territory) has had profound and long-term impacts on our Nation: socially, economically, culturally, spiritually and ecologically. The impacts to us have been comparable to the impacts of residential schools and forcing us on to reserves. We have been working to restore the salmon since at least the 1950’s, and today I am thrilled that the five governments that need to work together are doing just that: committing to work collaboratively to see what we need to do together to bring the salmon back. This is one small step on the long road to reconciliation.”
– Kathryn Teneese, Chair, Ktunaxa Nation Council

“I am very honoured to be a part of this signing to reintroduce the salmon back to our Columbia River. My Grandfathers Adrian Teneese and Chief Louie Arbel would have remembered the salmon run. This is the beginning of a challenge that we will overcome to bring our salmon back. I believe that my grandchildren and future generations will be able to fish the salmon once again in the Columbia River. This was the essence of our culture and life that kept us healthy not only physically but was the bond of our communities. Today we have a duty to make sure the waters are healthy so when the salmon return they will be able to reproduce and give us the sustenance that is crucial to our future generations.”
– Chief Barb Cote, Shuswap Indian Band

“ The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. By combining science and research with Indigenous knowledge and advice, we stand a much better chance of successfully reintroducing salmon to this portion of the river and, ultimately, increasing Indigenous communities’ access to more fish for food, social, and ceremonial purposes.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The historic loss of salmon migratory access to the Canadian portion of the Upper Columbia River has been a longstanding concern in the Columbia River Basin. I’m pleased that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with the Province of B.C. is working with the Syilx Okanagan, Ktunaxa and Secwepemc Indigenous Nations on this significant project. The signing of this important agreement is the first step in a multi-staged process to explore how salmon can be reintroduced back into this important watershed.”
– Pamela Goldsmith Jones, Parliamentary Secretary, Global Affairs Canada

“Salmon are integral to Indigenous communities and to the economic, environmental and social fabric of British Columbia. With this Agreement, the partners are taking a significant step towards bringing salmon back to the Upper Columbia Basin to protect and enhance salmon stocks for future generations. This signing demonstrates our government’s commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
– The Honourable Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

“Restoring salmon runs on the Upper Columbia River is incredibly important for Indigenous Nations of the Basin, and will also benefit basin residents and the ecosystem. As the MLA for Kootenay-West and as the Minister Responsible for the Columbia River Treaty, I am very pleased by this step forward. “
– The Honourable Katrine Conroy, BC Minister Responsible for the Columbia River Treaty

Quick Facts:
● The construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in the 1930s and 1940s in the state of Washington blocked salmon from reaching the Upper Columbia River in Canada leading to the extirpation of salmon stocks.
● In 1964, Canada and the United States implemented the Columbia River Treaty to develop the hydroelectric potential of the Columbia River Basin and to manage flood risk. For more than 50 years, the Treaty has been a model of efficient work and cooperation benefiting both Canada and the United States.
● The two countries are in the process of negotiating to modernize the Treaty. The next round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in Cranbook, BC, September 10-11, 2019.
● The signing of the Letter of Agreement demonstrates a renewable three-year commitment amongst five governments to work together to explore ways to reintroduce salmon into the Upper Columbia River Basin. The reintroduction of salmon into these areas, if successful, could restore fish stocks to support indigenous food, social and ceremonial needs and harvest opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
● Federal and Provincial science advice and Indigenous traditional knowledge will be key to ensuring any reintroduction of salmon into the Upper Columbia River is successful.

News Release – Signing of LoA


Rebuilding Our Syilx Nation & Recognition

July 23rd, 2019

Upholding their mandate to protect and advance Syilx People’s Title and Rights, the Chiefs Executive Council has been negotiating with Canada at a Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination table.

We know who we are. Through this process, the government of Canada can finally and formally tell itself and all of its bodies to recognize the Syilx People and our Syilx Nation. This is a much more effective path than continually fighting for our rights in costly endless court cases.

Recognition of the Syilx People, developing ankc’x̌ʷiplaʔtntət uɬ yʕat iʔ ks səctxət̕stim – our laws and responsibilities – and establishing our Syilx Nation government are vital steps to fully realize our collective title and rights under Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This is a not a treaty. It is not a land claim settlement. It does not set up a municipal level government. It has nothing to do with a corporation. We give up nothing! Instead, Canada will be legally bound to stop its denial and recognize the Syilx Nation and our People’s inherent Title and Rights.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip states: “This is the path to a more just future where we never again have to struggle at every turn to assert our identity and rights as a Nation.”

The Chiefs Executive Council will continue in its role as governance body through transition to our own Nation level government. ankc’x̌ʷiplaʔtntət uɬ yʕat iʔ ks səctxət̕stim – our laws and responsibilities must be set out and approved by Syilx Nation members through the community-led process to rebuild our Syilx Nation government. Recognition by the federal government will create a new Nation-to-Nation fiscal relationship with Canada and support access to Nation rebuilding and then ongoing Syilx Nation governance funding. Stronger intergovernmental relations and respect for Syilx decision-making authority in Syilx territory will support the full realization of our inherent and collectively held Title and Rights.

Rebuilding Our Syilx Nation + Recognition


Special Message from Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip – AGA Follow-Up Nation Recognition Message

July 23rd, 2019

Way’ Chiefs, Councillors and Membership,

Following the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) Annual General Assembly of July 17-18, 2019, it is
important to emphasize that the proposed Recognition Agreement process is one of de-colonization
where we as members of the Syilx Nation finally hold the power to decide how we are to govern our
collectively-held territorial lands and future.

Our Title and Rights are held collectively at the Nation level, not at the community Band level. It is
at the Nation level that we must work together to fully realize our Title and Rights.

• This Agreement is in no way a surrender of title, lands, jurisdiction or power.
• It does not give away anything or affect any of our rights.
• It does not change Indian Act reserve structure, local governance or status in any way.
• This is about rebuilding our power as Syilx People at the Syilx Nation level.
• This is not a treaty or a land claim. It does not set up any municipal level government or
corporation structure.
• This ensures the government does not ever deny our Title or Rights, including in court.
• This is an unprecedented Agreement and opportunity to ensure our power – Nation to Nation.
• It creates opportunities to rebuild our Syilx laws and responsibilities and our own Syilx
governance processes.
• This allows us to rebuild our own Syilx Nation governance and move beyond the ONA Society
Act process.

The Chiefs Executive Council has committed to Nation-wide community discussions specifically on
this Recognition Agreement. Syilx Nation members will be notified of Recognition discussion
forum schedules as soon as they can be confirmed. This will be in addition to the community-led
Syilx Nation Rising rebuilding engagement already underway.

lim’ləmpt
Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip

Special Message from GCSP – AGA Follow-up Nation Recognition Message


ONA Proud to Share 2018-2019 Annual Report

July 18th, 2019

The Okanagan Nation Alliance is proud to release the digital publication of our 2018-2019 Annual Report. The Annual Report is developed every year to support the ONA Annual General Assembly, and illustrates the breadth and depth of the work that takes place throughout the organization over the past fiscal year. It also represents our continued commitment to transparency and accountability in all the work that we carry out.

Since inauguration, the Okanagan Nation Alliance has remained dedicated to developing governance structures and operations, which uphold the Okanagan Nation Declaration and the rebuilding of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. Over the decades ONA has worked diligently to uphold our mandate to work collectively to advance and assert Syilx Okanagan Nation Title and Rights over the Territory. Today, not only has the range of work become greatly diversified, but we continue to face the opportunities and challenges of exponential growth. This Annual Report acts as an opportunity to reflect upon both where we are coming from, as well as where we are headed.

We hope you enjoy!

ONA 2018-2019 Annual Report

 


Syilx Okanagan Nation Gather and Celebrate at Annual General Assembly

July 17th, 2019

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Okanagan Territory: The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is proud to announce that our Annual General Assembly (AGA) will take place from July 17-18, 2019. This event provides Syilx Okanagan people with the opportunity to gather as a Nation, celebrate the many successes that have taken place for our people over the last year, and reflect on the persistent challenges that we collectively face together. This year the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) is hosting the event at the Prestige Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre, in Vernon, BC.

The keynote speaker for this year’s AGA is Bernie Williams Poitras, a community leader and long-time advocate for Indigenous women, who recently contributed to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The issue of Murdered & Missing Women and Girls, alongside the generational impacts of the Indian Residential Schools, systemic racism and violence, continue to have profound effects on Syilx communities, and Ms. Williams Poitras will be speaking to some of key processes that have been highlighted for addressing these issues through the National Inquiry.

Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip states that: “This is a trying time for Canada. The Prime Minister’s lofty promises of transparency, integrity, gender equity, Indigenous reconciliation, and enhanced environmental protection have all been shown to have very shallow roots. Words are one thing, but deeds are quite another. At this year’s AGA we continue to come together, as our ancestors have always done, to find the ways and means of taking on the challenges that colonialism has created, and finding solutions that resonate within our contemporary context.”

Alongside a variety of pertinent presentations and dialogues, there will also be a host of cultural activities taking place, including Canoe Races, Traditional Games, and nsyilxcən Bingo hosted throughout the two days.

Aligned with AGA, the annual Youth Leadership and Elders Gathering will also take place. This event provides Syilx youth the opportunity to connect with other peers from across the territory, engage in on-the-land based activities, and cultivate leadership skills. This event further supports the Syilx Okanagan Nation’s dedication to cultivate strong youth leaders today by their interaction with elders and other leaders throughout the Nation so that we may continue to thrive in the future.

For more info and a full agenda of the event visit: www.syilx.org/events/annual-general-assembly/

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The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) was formed in 1981 as the inaugural First Nations government in the Okanagan, which represents the 8 member communities of the Okanagan Nation. The ONA mandate is to work collectively to advance and assert Syilx Okanagan Nation Title and Rights over the Syilx Okanagan Nation Territory.

For further information please contact:
Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip, ONA Chair
T: 1-250-490-5314

Tara Montgomery, ONA Communications Lead
T: 1-250-862-6866 E: tmontgomery@syilx.org

MEDIA RELEASE- AGA 2019


Community Bulletin: Okanagan Nation 2019 sc’win (sockeye salmon) Return

July 11th, 2019

As of July 9, 2019, about 57,875 Sockeye have entered the Columbia River. It is estimated that
75-85% will return to the Okanagan. In total, we are anticipating there will be 60,000 sockeye
returning to the Columbia, with 45,000 to 51,000 sockeye heading to the Okanagan. These low returns are a result of poor migration conditions that affected the 2015 run. Since these
estimates are below 80,000, neither an economic nor recreational fishery will be considered.

Currently Syilx Okanagan Nation members are actively food fishing at sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ (swuhwuneet-kw) and nʕaylintn (ny-lin-tn) since the beginning of July and river temperatures have not increased where the sockeye have not fallen back into Osoyoos Lake. To support the food fishery the ONA does have two 16ft Lund boats with fishing gear available for community members to sign out. Individuals will require a truck to tow boat and boaters license and will need to return in working condition with same gear/equipment as it left with. We also have ice available at the hatchery in Penticton.

If food fishing, please have status card available as DFO enforcement will be out periodically making sure it is only the ONA Members fishing right now. Due to the low returns, for the time being, the ONA does not anticipate any communal distribution.

The ONA is dedicated to food sovereignty throughout the Nation. We sustain efforts at
diversifying our food fishery, incorporating a wide range of traditional species including bull
trout, sturgeon, and rainbow trout. In addition, we are committed to fostering education and
awareness about the need for protection and rejuvenation of all aquatic life and their habitats.
This includes Nation events, public signage initiatives, education programs like Fish in Schools (FinS), and outreach initiatives like the 2019 Okanagan Nation Fisheries Forum, which focused on the current and expanding operations of our fishery and stewardship responsibilities.

*ONA’s data sets are collected with the support of ONA’s CEC, CCT, PUDs, BPA and DFO, since 1995 using juvenile and adult biological traits such as abundance, age structure and survival estimates. It is one of the top ten richest data sets in the Columbia & BC for sockeye management.

Howie Wright, ONA Fisheries Manager
T: 1-250-718-5215
E: HWright@syilx.org

Tara Montgomery, ONA Communications Lead
T: 1-250-707-0095 ext.120
E: tmontgomery@syilx.org

Community Bulletin – Okanagan Nation 2019 sc’win (sockeye salmon) Return


SYILX OKANAGAN NATION HONORS ANCESTORS AND PRAY FOR SALMON AT CASTLEGAR SALMON CEREMONY AND FRY RELEASE

June 24th, 2019

sɬuxʷqaynm (Castlegar), Syilx Territory: On June 24, 2019, as part of the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s (ONA) ongoing effort to bring salmon back to the Upper Columbia, a sockeye fry release and cpu taʔstm iʔ xaʔxʔitət uɬ ck ́aʕxtm iʔ ntytyix Salmon Ceremony took place at Millennium Park in sɬuxʷqaynm, BC. These actions are central to Syilx Peoples responsibility to honor our ancestors and pray for the salmon, siwlɬkʷ (water) and tmixʷ (land).

“The Syilx Nation adheres to our responsibilities to all parts of our territory, including that of the Upper Columbia. In the face of many challenges the Syilx Okanagan Nation remains committed to ensuring that not only is our voice heard, but that our presence is felt. We, as Syilx People, have an inherent responsibility to call salmon back to the Upper Columbia. Ceremonies such as this affirm our connection to our territory” stated Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip, ONA Chair.

The sockeye fry release saw over 500 students from 10 schools throughout the Columbia releasing approximately 1200 sockeye fry that they have raised as part of ONA’s Fish in Schools (FinS) program.
By creating greater awareness of aquatic species students will become more educated of both salmon, their habitat and surrounding ecosystem. In the Columbia, this program also creates awareness of the historic salmon run from the ocean, upstream to the Kettle River, Columbia, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenay Rivers, including major tributaries the Salmo River and Slocan River.

calyx (Richard Armstrong), Syilx elder furthered that “Our Salmon Ceremonies are important because they tell the salmon ‘Come up! The Eagles need to eat. The Bears have to eat. The land can be fed, because not only the people depend on the salmon, but the land depends on it. The Eagles take the fish to the shore and the Bears carry it further up the mountain and they fertilize the huckleberries and everything else up the mountain. And as long as we perform these ceremonies the salmon knows that we Syilx are still here and we are still carrying out our responsibilities to call them home”.

The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) continue to be dedicated and vigilant to ensuring the successful reintroduction of sockeye salmon to the Upper Columbia watershed.
~
The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) was formed in 1981 as the inaugural First Nations government in the Okanagan, which represents the 8 member communities of the Okanagan Nation. In the 1960’s the Columbia River Treaty led to the creation of industrial reservoirs and the building hydro-electric developments on the Columbia River, making it impossible for fish passage, which deeply impacts Syilx cultural and food systems. Years of hard work, direct action and political advocacy, particularly in the last decade, have seen the ONA working with provincial, federal, other First Nations, and US Tribes and agencies to rebuild this sockeye run within all parts of Syilx territory.

For further information please contact:
Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip
T: 250-490-5314

ONA Chair Howie Wright, ONA Fisheries Manager
T: 1-250-718-5215

MEDIA RELEASE-Castlegar Fry Release and Salmon Ceremony


Reclaiming Power And Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

June 5th, 2019

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory:  The Syilx Okanagan Nation Chiefs Executive Council welcomes Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, released June 3, 2019 by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls calls for significant, systemic, transformative change.   This official report recognizes the systematic race- and gender-based violence against Indigenous women, girls, trans and two-spirit people in Canada as a genocide that needs to be addressed and acted upon immediately. The 231 Calls for Justice provided significant recommendations for action, including specific calls on human rights, policing, the justice system, corrections, health care, education, media, social work and child welfare.

The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) applauds the release of this long-overdue report, adding another step on the path towards reparation and healing from the ongoing traumas of colonialism.  The ONA CEC has been monitoring and actively engaged in the process of its development, having provided a submission on behalf of the Nation, as well as assisting and supporting specific Syilx families with their own statements and healing.

Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip, CEC Chair, states, “The time to act is now.  The genocidal acts have been clear. This issue persists, with Indigenous women, girls, trans and two-spirit peoples who continue to be missing or face rampant violence on a daily basis. Although the inquiry has completed its final report and Calls for Justice, there are many families within Syilx territory who have not told their stories, who have not received justice for their mothers/sisters/daughters, who feel unrepresented and unheard.  There are multiple levels of work that remain, the challenges reverberate throughout our communities, demanding healing and reparation to take place across multiple levels of systems, including family, community, Nation, and all levels of government.  Women are the backbone of our families and communities, it will take concerted action by all levels of government and the justice system to restore women to their proper place of power and dignified respect.”

The ONA has implemented a program called You Empowered Strong, now in its last year of funding by the Federal government, to begin addressing and de-normalizing gender based violence.  The work must continue.  We call on the Provincial and Federal Governments to ensure adequate funding to fully the support the implementation of the Calls for Justice.

To read the full Call for Justice visit:

www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Calls_for_Justice.pdf

For further information please contact:

Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip, ONA Chair / T: 250-490-5314

Jennifer Lewis / T: 1-250-250-826-7844  E: wellness.manager@syilx.org

MEDIA RELEASE – MMIWG Call for Justice


Syilx Nation’s Unity Run Continues to Raise Awareness About Suicide and Violence Prevention

May 8th, 2019

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: From May 9-12, 2019, the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) will host the 11th annual Spirit of Syilx Youth Unity Run. This event brings over 100 Syilx youth from across the Nation together to run through 350 kilometers of Syilx territory.

The Okanagan Nation is currently facing an opioid overdose crisis, alongside disproportionate levels of violence and suicide. In the face of these urgent and serious issues the Okanagan Nation’s Chief Executive Council (CEC) are developing and implementing well-being strategies that are based in all aspects of Syilx culture. The Unity Run is one of these impactful approaches, used to raise awareness and education with all youth members, citizens and the public on issues of suicide and violence that continues to confront Syilx communities.

Beyond these foundational goals, the Unity Run provides an innovative and holistic means of promoting wellness to Syilx youth. By engaging a wide range of tools – from physical activity, recognition of connection to land, and implementation of the Syilx teachings, culture and language – the Run provides participants with a deep sense of well-being. It educates on healthy lifestyle alongside facilitating the experience of community, connection and belonging. Syilx youth are also provided connection to their territory together as a Nation, while building relationships with Syilx elders, thus enacting our inherent responsibility to each other, the land and for generations to come.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, ONA Chairman, states, “The Spirit of Syilx Youth Unity Run affirms the Okanagan Nation’s dedication to coming together and holding up our youth. In line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 22 we must all ensure that our children are provided with full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence. This Run not only raises awareness on these issues of violence, but instills wellness and pride in our culture and nsyilxcen language for generations to come. The youth that take part in the Unity Run are tomorrow’s leaders. It fills me with pride to witness this young people rising up, building and fostering strength in each other and our Nation”.

This year the Unity Run begins on May 9 at Polson Park in Vernon, heads across to Douglas Lake, down through Kingsvale and finishes on May 12 in Manning Park, BC. A wide range of participants take part in the Unity Run every year, including Syilx youth, elders, leaders, Nation members and a range of other participants that wish to contribute and support to the event.

For further information please contact:

Jennifer Lewis
T: 1-250-250-826-7844 E: wellness.manager@syilx.org

MEDIA RELEASE- Unity Run 2019 pdf


B.C. Court of Appeal Confirms Rights in Arrow Lakes

May 3rd, 2019

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Okanagan Territory: The Chiefs of the Syilx Okanagan Nation welcome
the May 2, 2019 decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in R. v. Desautel, recognizing
and protecting Sinixt Aboriginal hunting rights in B.C. Sinixt are inextricably linked to our broader
Syilx Okanagan Nation, sharing common language, culture, history, traditions and ancestry. As
our Syilx communities include many Sinixt people, this confirmation that Sinixt rights continue to
exist in Syilx Okanagan Territory is critically important, particularly in light of the Province of
British Columbia’s previous denial of those rights.

The case was an appeal of the BC Supreme Court’s affirmation of the BC Provincial Court’s
March 27, 2017 decision that found that Richard DeSautel, a member of the Lakes Tribe of the
Confederated Colville Tribes (CCT) and a United States citizen, has an Aboriginal right to hunt
in the traditional territory of Sinixt people in British Columbia.

The BC Court of Appeal dismissed the Province’s appeal and confirmed some key legal
principles:
• The Aboriginal perspective needs to be taken into account when assessing whether persons who are not resident or citizens of Canada can be “Aboriginal peoples of Canada”;

• There is no requirement for there to be a modern-day community in the area where harvesting activities take place for an Aboriginal right to exist – this finding reflects the fact that Indigenous peoples were displaced through the process of colonization and that rights in the Arrow Lakes area were never voluntarily surrendered or abandoned.

In commenting on the decision, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Chair of the Chiefs’ Executive
Council of the Syilx Okanagan Nation stated that: “We are pleased that the Court of Appeal has
confirmed what we have always known – that the Sinixt (in our language, the sʔalt̕ik̓ʷt) were the
original inhabitants of the Arrow Lakes region long before the Europeans arrived. We are not
extinct.”

The Grand Chief went on to note: “As colonization advanced and especially with the imposition
of a boundary between the US and Canada, our Sinixt people were forced to choose which side
of the border to live in. Yet we are all related and we remain related to the present day. The
ONA and CCT will continue to be united through our cultural, familial, territorial, economic and
political ties. Neither the Court’s decision nor an imaginary line at the 49th parallel can affect the
relationships of our Sinixt people and the Title and Rights that belong to us, the nsyilxcen speaking
peoples. We were pleased to participate in the appeal on behalf of Syilx Okanagan
people and our Nation. We also hold up our two elders, Richard Armstrong and Hazel Squakin,
who were able to share their knowledge of the Arrow Lakes area of our Territory at Mr.
DeSautel’s trial.”

The Okanagan Nation Alliance and its Chiefs’ Executive Council represent Syilx Okanagan
Nation members and are mandated to protect, advance and defend Syilx Okanagan Nation
collective Title and Rights. Syilx Okanagan Nation communities include thousands of members
who are Sinixt descendants and whose ancestors historically lived in the Arrow Lakes area.

For more information please contact:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Okanagan Nation Alliance Chair
Tel: (250) 490-5314

Press Release BCCA Decision in Desautel


Restoring cəm’tus (white sturgeon) for a multispecies fishery

May 2nd, 2019

On May 3, 2019, at 10 am, the Syilx Okanagan Nation will host a cəm’tus (White Sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus) juvenile release ceremony at Millenium Park in Castlegar, BC. Approximately 100 cəm’tus fry will be into the upper reaches of the Columbia River on May 3, 25 of which will be released during the ceremony.

Historically, Syilx Okanagan peoples harvested cəm’tus within their Territory as was central to their traditional customs and practices. In 2006, cəm’tus was listed as Endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) in the Upper Columbia River, as the population was failing to reproduce due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

As part of a continued effort to support the Chiefs Executive mandate is respectfully aligned with our Syilx Traditional knowledge, culture, food security, and customs. The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is commitment to creating a multispecies fishery for all Syilx people, which includes the rejuvenation of cəm’tus. Initial planning has begun to hold a communal fishery for cəm’tus in the autumn of 2019. These efforts demonstrate our responsibilities to restore cəm’tus to the Upper Columbia River and eventually revive the historical fishery. The ONA’s fishery program, with the utilization of kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery, aim to extend the license in the coming two years and raise cəm’tus juveniles for release from our own hatchery.

This is a partnership event, in collaboration with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and BC Hydro.

For more information on other work the Okanagan Nation is conducting with cəm’tus in the Upper Columbia: www.syilx.org/projects/juvenile-white-sturgeon-monitoring/

For more information on this event please contact:

Dominique Alexis: Events Planner T: (250) 707-0095 ext. 233 E: dalexis@syilx.org


4.2 Million sc’win (Sockeye) Fry to be Released into Okanagan Watershed

April 30th, 2019

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Syilx/Okanagan Nation’s Chiefs Executive Council affirm a shared responsibility to care for Syilx lands and resources, including responsibility to our sacred waters and the foods that they provide. This year marks another huge milestone with 4.2 million sockeye fry being released into the Okanagan Watershed, primarily into Okanagan Lake. This work includes a series of Syilx ceremonial releases taking place from April 30 – May 2, 2019.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip shares that “These fry releases, and other continued efforts at returning sc’win (Okanagan sockeye) to our territory, are part of our inherent right and responsibility as Syilx People. We are dedicated to ensuring that our grandchildren and all future generations are able to fish, and practice our way of life to uphold these sacred relations”.

Over the course of April and May, 2019, the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s (ONA) kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery operations will release these sockeye salmon fry into various points within the watershed including 6 Mile Creek, Mission Creek, Trout Creek, and Shingle Creek. These fry releases are integral to the Syilx peoples’ continued successful efforts to return sockeye salmon back to the Okanagan, and since 2016, specifically to Okanagan Lake.

The Syilx Chiefs and leadership are steadfast in their commitment to working collaboratively with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and recently with the Province of BC, to finalize long-term plans on sockeye salmon reintroduction in Okanagan Lake. Chief Chad Eneas states “The reintroduction of sockeye fry back to Okanagan Lake ensures the successful revitalization of these stocks and diversifies the stock with additional lake systems. Our ancestors knew these waterways and everything that depended upon them for survival. These were our food systems our food security and our responsibilities to care for as our ancient captikwl (stories) confirm this understanding. We remain committed to these responsibilities for our lands, waters and peoples”.

Howie Wright, ONA’s Fisheries Program Manager, affirms “The Syilx/Okanagan Nation’s reintroduction of sockeye into Skaha Lake is highly successful, which enables us to upscale these efforts to Okanagan Lake. As these stocks continue to be re-established Syilx Okanagan Nation member communities are able to meet food, social, and ceremonial needs through the food fishery”.
This initiative is critical given that sc’win were nearly extirpated in the Okanagan Basin. In the 1960’s the Columbia River Treaty and habitat impacts in the Okanagan basin led to the creation of industrial reservoirs, and the building hydro-electric developments on the Columbia River, making it impossible for fish passage, while severely impacting Syilx cultural, political and near extinction of our central food systems: our salmon. Syilx title and rights assertions and advocacy have seen the ONA working with provincial, federal and US Tribes and agencies counterparts to rebuild this sockeye population with respectful balance of Traditional knowledge and western science.
~
The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) was formed in 1981 as the inaugural First Nations government in the Okanagan, which represents the 8 member communities of the Okanagan Nation. The ONA’s kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery is central to our conservation efforts. The 25,000 square foot hatchery has the capacity to rear 8 million eggs, and is currently equipped to handle all fish culture aspects required for 5 million eggs from brood stock management until fry release.

For further information please contact:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Chairman C: 250-490-5314

Howie Wright, ONA Fisheries Program Manager C:250-718-5215

There will be numerous ceremonial fry releases taking place throughout the Syilx territory from April 30-May 2, 2019. These include the following scheduled releases.

Mission Creek Fry Release
Date: April 30, 2019
Time: 1:00-3:00 pm
Hosted by: Okanagan Nation Alliance and the Westbank First Nation Location: Mission Creek
Details: This is a private event for the Westbank First Nation, and will not be open to the public.

6 Mile Creek Fry Release
Date: April 30, 2019
Time: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Hosted by: Okanagan Nation Alliance and the Okanagan Indian Band Location: 6 Mile Creek
Details: This event is open to the public.

Annual Sockeye Fry Release
Date: May 2, 2018
Time: 9:30am – 2:00pm
Hosted by: Okanagan Nation Alliance Location: Penticton Channel, off Hwy 97 & Green Mountain Road, Penticton BC Details: This event hosts over 400 students from local schools that have raised fry through the ONA’s (ONA) Fish in Schools Program, that will be released along with fry from the kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery. A number of activities for participating students will also take place. Please drive slowly. Parking will be available along the left side of the Dyke and behind the Save on Gas station.
For more information on any of these events please contact:

Dominique Alexis: Events Planner T: (250) 707-0095 ext. 233 E: dalexis@syilx.org

Okanagan Lake Fry Release Media Releases 2019


cikilaxwm (Prescribed Burn) at kiʔ ʕacqxʷúʔ (Crater Mtn) Update

April 3rd, 2019

On April 2, at kiʔ ʕacqxʷúʔ (Crater Mtn) a cikilaxwm (prescribed fire) took place to restore forest and grassland health, including bighorn sheep habitat.

The day  began with a ceremony with Herman Edward, and proceeded with an operations and safety meetings. Conditions outlined in the burn plan (created by Rob Edward and Richard Swift of BCWS) were met at approximately 12:45, and a test burn at 12:50 confirmed that the burn could go ahead as planned. Ground crews consisted of two teams, made up of LSIB Crew members and BC Wildfire Crew members. LSIB Crews included Chase and Isaac Dennis, Jason Allison and Eric Edward. They worked drip torches, on the edges and in areas of the burn that needed some extra heat. All crews did an exceptional job of coordinating with the helicopter pilot and ignition specialist in the air by radio. While the ground crews worked to ignite the edges, working their through tough and steep terrain, aerial ignition was initiated at approximately 1:10, using plastic spherical devices (dragon balls) dispatched from the dragon machine in the helicopter. A combination of dragon balls and heli-drip torch got the job done from the air.

The fire never jumped the fire breaks, which crews worked over the past two weeks to establish around the perimeter of the area. The entire area was burnt and met objectives. The ground crews tied the whole thing down to the Ashnola road, and finished up together at about 4:45. The day finished with a debriefing at the staging area, and completed the day at 6:00. Crews are out monitoring the following day, and will continue to do so over the next two to three weeks, or until the fire is completely.

The LSIB crew members will continue their training with BCWS and work on these projects, as well as with BCWS on wildfire response.

Phase II of Crater Mountain Prescribed Burn in planning stages for this fall, provided resources and conditions are in place.

 


BC Wildfires Services: Prescribed Burn Scheduled Near Crater Mountain Information Bulletin

April 2nd, 2019

The BC Wildfire Service, the Okanagan Nation Alliance and the Lower
Similkameen Indian Band plan to conduct a 192-hectare prescribed burn near Crater Mountain, about 15 kilometres west of Keremeos.

The burn is the first phase of a comprehensive, multi-year project that is intended to improve bighorn sheep habitat, reduce wildfire threats to nearby communities and protect cultural values. This collaborative effort also supports the traditional use of fire as a tool to improve landscapes in the Okanagan region. This prescribed burn could start as early as Tuesday, April 2, 2019, if weather, site and venting conditions allow. It will be ignited only if conditions are suitable and will allow for quick smoke dissipation.

The Lower Similkameen Indian Band and the BC Wildfire Service will carefully prepare, control and monitor the fire. Smoke may be visible from nearby communities. This low- to moderate-intensity surface fire will be lit within pre-established boundaries to remove combustible materials and mimic a naturally occurring ground fire.

More information about the project can be found online: www.syilx.org/cikilaxwm-prescribed-fire-used-to-manage-bighorn-sheep-habitat-on-syilxterritory/

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 tollfree
or *5555 on a cellphone.

Follow the latest B.C. wildfire news:
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo
On Facebook: http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo

Learn More: A factsheet about prescribed burns and ecosystem restoration burns is available online: http://ow.ly/E8Ue30br7OY

Prescribed burn scheduled near Crater Mountain


Okanagan Nation Alliance Asserts Need For Partnerships On Water Protection in the Territory With 5th Annual siwɬkʷ (Water) Forum

March 22nd, 2019

scʕaxans nhithitwəl̓ (Peachland Watershed), Syilx Territory: On March 22, 2019, as part of World Water Day, the Okanagan Nation hosted the 5th annual siwɬkʷ (Water) Forum. This year’s theme was ‘Collaborative Approach to Water Resiliency: Protecting Our Headwaters’, and in collaboration with the Town of Peachland, focused on the health and protection of the scʕaxans nhithitwəl̓ (Peachland Watershed).

The Forum brought together 100 people, including Syilx/Okanagan leaders, elders, traditional knowledge keepers and community members, alongside municipal and provincial governments, NGO representatives and academics. Together participants connected with each other out on the land, shared perspectives, and engaged in dialogue on drinking water protection, wetlands, and other important water issues including impacts of forestry and mining.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip affirmed that “As Syilx people we recognize our inherent right and responsibility to siwɬkʷ, one of our most sacred relations. With continued environmental degradation of scʕaxans nhithitwəl̓ the protection of these headwaters is of utmost importance to ensure that all citizens and living beings are able to access clean drinking water. We need to work with everyone’s interest in mind, particularly given the challenging issue of climate change. The future of our grandchildren depends on our ability and courage to collectively stand up and defend land and water”.

The tour began with a Syilx/Okanagan water ceremony and sign unveiling in the scʕaxans nhithitwəl̓ (Peachland Watershed), followed by a Syilx/Okanagan cultural assessment of scʕaxans nhithitwəl̓. Through the Forum attendees were part of a land assessment of the watershed and Syilx/Okanagan guides exhibited how water centric planning and management is a long-standing concept that Syilx/Okanagan people continue to practice as fundamental guiding principles. The group returned together for an afternoon of dialogue on the impacts of forestry on water quality and drinking water and worked to develop collaborative projects to address the issue.

Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin further reiterated that “Drinking water is our most precious resource and it is our duty to conserve and protect it for future generations, wildlife, agriculture and the environment. The best way to do that is in partnerships with local First Nations and our neighbouring communities”.
~
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: www.syilx.org/about-us/syilx-nation/water-declaration/ 

Sponsors for the siwɬkʷ (Water) Forum include BC Hydro, Ntityix Resources and the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, ONA Chair
T: 250-490-5314


cikilaxwm (Prescribed Fire) Used to Manage Bighorn Sheep Habitat on Syilx Territory

March 18th, 2019

kiʔ ʕacqxʷúʔ (Crater Mtn), Syilx Territory: This March, as part of a Syilx land management practice, a cikilaxwm (prescribed fire) will take place at kiʔ ʕacqxʷúʔ (Crater Mountain) to restore forest and grassland health, including bighorn sheep habitat.

“After the devastating wildfires that we experienced in 2018 it is vital that we implement these practices to enhance wildlife habitat and adapt to the effects of climate change. cikilaxwm is a long standing Syilx method that enhances wildlife habitat and reduces the risk of catastrophic wildfire, it only makes sense that we revitalize these practices.” stated Chief Keith Crow, Lower Similkameen Indian Band (LSIB).

This burn is phase one of a comprehensive, multi-year project aimed at improving bighorn sheep habitat, reducing wildfire threats to nearby communities, protecting cultural values, and providing an opportunity for collaboration to support the re-establishment of fire as part of the natural disturbance regime in the Okanagan.

The burn is targeting 192 ha of a total of 680 prescribed hectares on the East slopes of kiʔ ʕacqxʷúʔ. The treatment is focusing on areas nearest to communities as a priority, protecting nearby LSIB members and the community of Keremeos from potential wildfire moving up from the South.

The Okanagan Nation’s Chief Executive Council acknowledges the importance of cultural values, respecting traditional ecological knowledge, and collaborative efforts by the Syilx Nation and member communities, particularly in the face of some of the most complex challenges ever faced. This cikilaxwm is a partnership project between LSIB, Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA), the Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) and BC Wildfire Services (BCWS).

~

Active fire suppression has led to extreme fuel loading and vegetation ingrowth throughout Syilx Territory. Combined with climate change, fire suppression has led to longer, more intense, and more destructive wildfire seasons and a less resilient forest and grassland ecosystem. The ONA supports the important role of Syilx communities’ responsibility to re-establish prescribed fire on the Okanagan landscape. For more information: www.syilx.org/projects/prescribed-burns/

For further information please contact:

Chief Keith Crow, Lower Similkameen Indian Band

T: 1-250-499-9333

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, ONA Chair

T: 250-490-5314

Crater Mountain Prescribed Burn Media Release


B.C. First Nations, Province partner in historic revenue-sharing agreement

February 20th, 2019

As part of Budget 2019, First Nations in British Columbia will have a stable, long-term source of funding to invest in their communities’ priorities, through a historic revenue-sharing agreement between the Province and the First Nations Leadership Council.

Starting April 2019, approximately $3 billion over 25 years will be shared with B.C. First Nations, meaning every First Nation community in B.C. will be eligible for between $250,000 and $2 million annually through the agreement.

First Nations communities will determine their own priorities for the funding, which can be used for a wide range of benefits, including: health and wellness, housing, infrastructure, training, environmental protection, economic development, governance capacity and other uses.

The agreement to share provincial gaming revenue was reached after decades of work and advocacy by the First Nations Leadership Council, represented by the First Nations Gaming Commission, as directed through resolutions by Chiefs at assemblies of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Summit and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. The Commission is establishing a new B.C. First Nations limited partnership to manage the funding, overseen by a First Nations-appointed board of directors.

Sharing revenue with First Nations communities is an important step that puts reconciliation into action. This agreement is part of B.C.’s commitment to create a new fiscal relationship with First Nations, recognizing self-government and self-determination.

Quotes:

Grand Chief Joe Hall, former chair, BC First Nations Gaming Commission –

“The B.C. government is finally implementing a long-awaited agreement to share gaming revenue that will enable First Nations the opportunity to prioritize critically important community issues that have long hindered their beneficial development.”

Premier John Horgan –

“This agreement will change lives for the better in every corner of the province. It means consistent, predictable and sustainable funding to support critical things every government needs, like improving infrastructure, implementing long-term planning and pursuing development opportunities to address the economic, social and cultural needs of Indigenous peoples on the lands that have belonged to them since time began. This is transformative for people, families and communities, and we’re very excited about that.”

Carole James, Minister of Finance –

“This agreement is the result of decades of tireless work by the First Nations Leadership Council to ensure that the resources of our province are shared in a way that advances self-government and self-determination. I’m enormously proud of what we have accomplished together to ensure that communities have the resources they need and deserve.”

Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“With this new source of funding, First Nations communities will have added resources to invest in important priorities that help communities flourish – social services, education, infrastructure, cultural revitalization and economic development. We are proud to put reconciliation into action by supporting the right of every First Nation in B.C. to self-government and self-determination. ”

Regional Chief Terry Teegee, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations –

“First Nations have demanded a fair share from their territories for decades – our title and rights include an economic component that requires sharing in all sectors. The revenue-sharing agreement paves the way for First Nations to finally access a share of the provincial gaming revenue as well as access to community gaming grants that will support positive community change. We look forward to the upcoming Phase 2 of discussions on direct First Nations participation in gaming industry opportunities.”

Robert Phillips, First Nations Summit political executive –

“Every additional dollar into B.C. First Nations communities, including gaming funds, will directly correlate to better living conditions and an improved quality of life. Past studies have clearly shown that such an infusion of new funds into communities annually will measurably enhance the economy of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, supporting the notion that healthy Indigenous economies benefit all British Columbians.”

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs –

“We are extremely pleased that the persistent work of the BC First Nations Gaming Commission is being realized – revenue sharing on gaming marks an important step in recognizing the economic component to Indigenous inherent title and self-determination to make our own decisions about our territories. Next steps are aligning legislative codes and policies to this First Nations gaming agreement and to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Quick Facts:

  • In 2017-18, the B.C. government collected $1.391 billion in net revenue from gaming activities.
  • Currently, 31% of total provincial gaming revenue is distributed to fund a Health Special Account, community gaming grants and host local governments. This will remain unchanged, and an additional 7% will be distributed to the First Nations new limited partnership. The remainder will continue to go into the Province’s general revenues.
  • Funding will be distributed to communities based on the following formula, developed by the First Nations Gaming Commission in consultation with First Nations:
    • 50% base funding (divided equally among partnered First Nations, including modern Treaty Nations, in B.C.);
    • 40% based on population, and
    • 10% for geographically remote communities.

UBCIC Briefing Note: BC Speech from the Throne, 2019

February 19th, 2019

BRIEFING NOTE
TO: UBCIC CHIEFS COUNCIL
FROM: UBCIC EXECUTIVE
DATE: FEB 19, 2019
RE: BC SPEECH FROM THE THRONE, 2019

PURPOSE
To provide a summary and analysis of the reforms and initiatives presented in the Throne Speech delivered at the BC Legislature in Victoria.

BACKGROUND
Lieutenant-Governor Janet Austin initiated the spring session of BC legislature on February 12 by delivering the throne speech that outlined the minority NDP government’s priorities and initiatives for 2019. The overarching theme of affordability mirrored last year’s speech, with promises from John Horgan’s government to implement affordable housing, affordable childcare, and a poverty reduction strategy. The throne speech of 2018 previously promised restrictions and checks on BC’s out-of-control real estate and rental market, including imposing a speculation and vacancy property tax. It also promised $153 million to help fund an action plan for affordable childcare and to carry out a new reconciliation focused strategy for improving relations with Indigenous people.

KEY POINTS
The following commitments in the speech are significant for First Nations in BC:
• BC will be the first province in Canada to introduce legislation to implement the UN Declaration, legislation that will be co-developed with the First Nations Leadership Council and other Indigenous organizations. If passed, this legislation will provide the foundation for BC’s work on reconciliation and will bring provincial laws and policies into harmony with the Declaration.
• A report on the agreement made last year between the government and First Nations to share in provincial gaming revenue, revenue that has supported Indigenous self- government.
• Supporting Indigenous learners by a implementing a new First Nations history curriculum and developing full-course offerings in Indigenous languages.
• Housing affordability will be improved by speeding up development permit approval processes to build affordable rental housing more quickly, and by addressing recommendations from the Rental Housing Task Force. BC continues to create initiatives for Indigenous housing on and off-reserve and housing for women and children leaving domestic violence.
• BC will deliver its first poverty reduction strategy; not much detail has been provided yet, but the government has stated it will “give people the opportunities and supports they need to reach their full potential.”
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• The government will implement a collaborative process to develop new legislation to give universal access to affordable childcare.
• The challenge and urgency of the climate crisis was stressed; measures for the implementation of CleanBC, the climate action strategy will be brought forward in Budget 2019. BC claims that its initiatives to reduce carbon pollution and drive economic growth will be done in partnership with First Nations governments.
• LNG Canada’s liquefied natural gas project will have a “continued focus on reconciliation with First Nations” and can proceed because the government’s four conditions were met, including “meaningful partnerships with First Nations” and its fitting within the CleanBC plan.

ANALYSIS
Because the Horgan government made the UN Declaration part of every cabinet minister’s mandate letter since 2017, it is very momentous that BC is finally treating the UN Declaration as more than just a symbolic placard and enshrining it into law. Likewise, BC’s commitment to sharing gaming revenue with First Nations was a step towards recognizing the economic component of Aboriginal Title. The shared revenue supports community building, services for families, and Indigenous peoples’ self-determination and their right to determine what happens on their territories.

The education initiative to introduce courses in Indigenous languages follows on the heels of Canada’s recently introduced Bill C-91, An Act Respecting Indigenous Languages. It is a positive step towards strengthening Indigenous language learning and promoting public awareness. However, the government’s promise to implement affordable childcare legislation in the speech did not mention Indigenous people. It is crucial that such legislation is developed in collaboration with First Nations so that it can remedy Canada’s failure to fairly and adequately provide for Indigenous children who are overrepresented in childcare. Likewise, BC’s proposed poverty reduction strategy must close the socio-economic gap between First Nations and Non-First Nations. It must recognize and focus on helping the disproportionate number of Indigenous people who are unable to afford housing and childcare and are more susceptible to the public-health crisis of drug overdoses.

The speech’s claim that LNG Canada fits within the province’s climate action plan and continues to focus on “reconciliation” is partially misleading. LNG Canada’s project poses immense environmental risks, including increased emissions and methane leakages. CleanBC only broadly states that it will partner with First Nations, with no comprehensive or detailed plans outlining how exactly it will achieve this. While elected First Nation band councils along the Coastal Gaslink route have signed agreements, there is also a significant and public number of First Nations who do not support the project and have made this clear to the Province. Furthermore, the speech did not touch upon new regulations and protections that would improve BC’s ability to prepare for and respond to bitumen spills.
Despite the speech’s statement that two independent reviews are underway on the role of money laundering in BC real estate, the speech did not call for a public inquiry into the money laundering in BC’s casinos. The consensus from many is that this throne speech was “stay-the course,” with no major new policy announcements, but pledges to continue making progress on existing priorities.

APPENDICES
• Speech from the Throne: https://www.leg.bc.ca/parliamentary-business/legislation-debates-proceedings/41st-parliament/4th-session/throne-speech


The Okanagan Nation’s ‘Fish in Schools (FinS)’ Program Extends to Nine Schools Within the Columbia

February 13th, 2019

Syilx Okanagan Nation Territory, BC – On February 13, 2019, the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA), as part of the Fish in Schools (FinS) program, will deliver the final round of sc’win (sockeye salmon) eggs or fry to participating schools within the Columbia region of Syilx territory.

ONA’s FinS is a comprehensive fish education program for school students, with a focus on sc’win (sockeye salmon), their lifecycle and the importance of their ecosystems. By creating greater awareness of fish species, the intent is for students to become educated and aware of both salmon, their habitat and surrounding ecosystem. In the Columbia, this program also creates awareness of the historic salmon run from the ocean, upstream to the Kettle River, Columbia, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenay Rivers, including major tributaries the Salmo River and Slocan River. As such, FinS is a key step in the Syilx Nation’s broader intent to bring salmon back to their original range, having been blocked from returning by Hydro electric dams along the Columbia River in the 1940s.

In 2017-18 the ONA extended the FinS program to the Columbia region, collaborating with Glenmerry Elementary in Trail and Twin Rivers Elementary in Castlegar. This year the ONA have upscaled these efforts, and partnered with School Districts 8, 10, 20, and 51, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, and Regional District of Central Kootenay to deliver the FinS program to nine schools throughout the Columbia including: Christina Lake Elementary, Glenmerry Elementary, Hutton Elementary, Kinnaird Elementary, Lucerne Elementary, Robson Community School, Salmo Elementary, South Nelson Elementary, and Twin Rivers Elementary.

Upon successfully raising the sc’win fry they will be included in the Syilx Okanagan ceremonial releases throughout the Syilx Territory.

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The Fish in Schools program has been running successfully since 2003 in the Okanagan region, and contributes to the kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery’s fry release efforts. The kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery is a testament to the perseverance of the Syilx people to realize their dream of restoring the n’titx(Salmon) – one of our Four Food Chiefs – to their original habitat and rightful place in our territory. Opened in 2014, the 25,000 square foot hatchery has the capacity to rear 8 million eggs. It is currently equipped to handle all fish culture aspects required for 5 million eggs from brood stock management until fry release.

For More Information Contact:
Howie Wright, ONA Fisheries Manager
Tel: (250) 718-5215

Michael Zimmer, ONA Fisheries Columbia Biologist
Tel: (250) 304-7341


Open House: Planned Crater Mountain Prescribed Burn

February 6th, 2019

The BC Wildfire Service and the Lower Similkameen Indian Band invite you to attend an open house regarding phase one (192 hectares) of a proposed 680-hectare prescribed burn near Crater Mountain. The project is intended to provide a level of community protection from wildfire, restore the ecosystem, including critical bighorn sheep habitat, and enhance Indigenous cultural values in the area.

Drop by to learn more about the prescribed burn plan directly from the project’s managers.

When: 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, February 7, 2019

Where: Victory Hall, 427 Crowsnest Highway, Keremeos

Details: Doors will open at 6 p.m. with an informational presentation at 6:30 p.m. A question and answer period will follow. Members of the project team will be available for discussion until 8 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

 


Community Bulletin: Okanagan Nation sc’win (Okanagan sockeye salmon) 2019 Return Forecast & Estimates

December 6th, 2018

One of the lowest returns in the past 10 years of scwin is expected in 2019. ONA biologists have analyzed a number of data sets*, and are currently forecasting lower than average returns of adult sc’win for the 2019 fishing season.

In comparison to the previous 10-year avg., our predictions suggest there will be 50% fewer sc’win coming back in 2019. Projections currently estimate between 30,000 to 70,000 sc’win to return to the Columbia River Basin, with approx. 17,000 sockeye making it to the spawning grounds in the Okanagan.

Salmon return every four years so this decline is directly related to the poor return of sc’win in 2015. The lack of fish in 2015 was due to higher than normal water temperatures that prevented sc’win to come back to their breeding grounds in the Okanagan, which subsequently led to increased mortality rates. In addition, US harvest rates in 2015 also contributed to these low returns.

During a year of limited abundance it has been common practice to decrease our community harvest. If our predictions are correct, opportunities for food fishing available to community will be highly limited, with no coordinated harvest by the ONA taking place.

In the face of these challenges, we are excited that this year will see the return of the Okanagan Lake hatchery fry. Of the 770,000 fry released in Okanagan Lake in 2015, we estimate 250-750 adults making their way back to the Okanagan Dam this summer. Expect to see these fish at the dam in July, or end of September to early October. Such returns will begin to illustrate the benefits and outcomes of our efforts to rejuvenate salmon in our territory.

The ONA is contributes to food sovereignty throughout the Nation. We sustain efforts at diversifying our food fishery, incorporating a wide range of traditional species including bull trout, sturgeon, and rainbow trout. In addition, we are committed to fostering education and awareness about the need for protection and rejuvenation of all aquatic life and their habitats. This includes Nation events, public signage initiatives, and education programs like Fish in Schools (FinS). We plan to hold a Nation-specific Fisheries Forum in the first quarter of 2019 focused on the current and expanding operations of our fishery and stewardship responsibilities. More details will be distributed once confirmed. We are also available to engage community in regards to wide range of these efforts upon request.

*ONA’s data sets are collected with the support of ONA’s CEC, CCT, PUDs, BPA and DFO, since 1995 using juvenile and adult biological traits such as abundance, age structure and survival estimates. It is one of the top ten richest data sets in the Columbia & BC for sockeye management. Official estimates of returns and harvest projections will be released by June 26, 2019.

For more information please contact:
Howie Wright, ONA Fisheries Manager
Cell: 1-250-718-5215 E: HWright@syilx.org

Tara Montgomery, ONA Communications Lead
T: 1-250-707-0095 ext. 120 E: tmontgomery@syilx.org

sc’win Returns Community Bulletin


Congratulations to Grand Chief Stewart Phillip on the Acceptance of an Honorary Degree from the University of British Columbia

November 28th, 2018

Musqueam Territory, Vancouver, British Columbia: Today, November 28, 2018, at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Chan Center, ʔaʔsi wɬ  (Grand Chief Stewart Phillip) was awarded an honorary degree.

On behalf of the Syilx Okanagan people, we want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to ʔaʔsi wɬ for his years of hard work. It is our tradition to celebrate the achievements of our people, but today we also pause to honour him for his perseverance and commitment.  He has fought many battles, and today we are in a new era, where our Title and Rights are finally being recognized. There is a genuine desire for reconciliation on all sides, and we, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, are the beneficiaries of these tireless efforts to improve the lives of all indigenous people within our Nation, our province, in this country and internationally. Today, we acknowledge and honor ʔaʔsi wɬ for this extraordinary achievement and recognition of his life’s work.

Chief Chad Eneas stated that ‘When Grand Chief Stewart Phillip began working for our communities and fighting for indigenous rights, he was not welcome at the table, but he was undeterred. He is a man of conviction, a diplomat, and steadfastly committed to the rights of indigenous people everywhere. We are proud to call him our own!”

Pauline Terbasket followed, remarking that “Grand Chief Stewart Philip is a visionary, a man of integrity and I’m proud to call him a mentor. He is a role model for all our young people. The Syilx people join together in celebration of this man who has fought tenaciously for indigenous title and rights.”

Lim’ limpt Grand Chief Stewart Phillip for all that you have done, and continue to do, for the Syilx Okanagan Nation!

For further info contact:

Tara Montgomery, ONA Communications Lead
t: 1.250.707.0095 ext.120 e: tmontgomery@syilx.org
MEDIA RELEASE – GCSP Honorary Degree


Community Notice: Marine Nutrient Loading in Regional Waterways

October 9th, 2018

As part of our continued conservation efforts, the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is currently collecting broodstock gathering sockeye salmon eggs for the kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery. It is recognized that Skaha and Okanagan Lake are nutrient poor when compared to Osoyoos Lake.  As with previous years, we will be restarting the Marine Nutrient Reintroduction Program. Through this program we return the salmon carcasses taken during broodstock back into local streams. This program proves important for stream vitality as well as fish returning to the streams. If we increase the nutrients then the lake may grow more food for young sockeye fry.

The Penticton Indian Band (PIB) has sanctioned and is collaborating on this activity for Trout Creek. We have a sign on location for the site that describes what we are hoping to achieve.

Any further questions or concerns may be directed to:
Norm Johnson, ONA Facility Operations Biologist
e: njohnson@syilx.org
t: 1.250.707.0095   ext 351


Indigenous Leaders celebrate 50th Annual General Assembly of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs

October 4th, 2018

(Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Territory/Kamloops, B.C. – October 3rd, 2018) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is celebrating its 50th Annual General Assembly (AGA) this week, a gathering of over 100 Chiefs, proxies, and policy experts to discuss significant political and social issues that impact BC First Nations.

The event is being held from October 2nd through 4th at Moccasin Square Gardens in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Territory. The theme of this year’s AGA is “50 Years of Exercising Our Title and Rights.”

“49 years ago, after a three-day meeting here in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, 175 Chiefs unanimously voted to create the UBCIC in order to defend our Aboriginal Title and Rights from Pierre Trudeau’s infamous White Paper,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the UBCIC. “What resulted is nearly 50 years of unwavering advocacy for Indigenous peoples across multiple sectors, including land claims research, violence against Indigenous women and girls, destructive resource extraction practices and projects, and the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Agenda items include discussions of Canada’s proposed Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework, UBCIC’s submission to the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and protections for wild salmon. In addition, Grand Chief Phillip will be honoured for his 20th year as President of the organization.

“The AGA is the centrepiece of UBCIC operations, a space where we can all gather and work on issues integral to our livelihood and identity as Indigenous peoples,” said Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the UBCIC. “It’s a space where Indigenous voices are uplifted, celebrated, and given room to speak from our hearts and traditions. We discuss issues that are painful and exasperating, but our sense of community and strong determination turns our frustrations into tangible action at these meetings.”

UBCIC will host three special events in conjunction with the 50th AGA: a group photograph, an Indigenous Women in Leadership Dinner, and a banquet accompanied by a test screening of the upcoming UBCIC documentary Unceded Chiefs, directed by filmmaker Doreen Manuel. The founding members and homemakers will be honoured at this banquet, along with those who participated in the 1980-1981 Constitution Express movement.

“The 50th AGA marks a historic milestone for UBCIC. Despite major opposition, discrimination, and colonially-imposed barriers, we have survived and thrived as a leading Indigenous political organization.” said Chief Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the UBCIC. “The late Grand Chief George Manuel, in conversation with Louise Mandell, stated that our rights need to be constitutionalized and also recognized. We will continue to fight tirelessly for the health and wellness of our peoples and communities and the further protection of our inherent Title and Rights – for fifty more years and beyond.”

Media inquiries:

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: (250-490-5314)

Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: (250-974-8282

Chief Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: (250-320-7738)