Okanagan River Salmonid Sampling Near You

May 27th, 2021

snpintktn (Penticton), Syilx Okanagan Territory:   Okanagan Nation Alliance Fisheries biologists will be out sampling juvenile salmonids in the Okanagan River off-channel habitats between now and the end of this June. You’ll likely spot biologists in oxbows, side channels, floodplains, and other off-channel habitat along the main river between Okanagan and Osoyoos Lakes. Biologists will be setting live capture-release fish traps, deployed during dawn to dusk, left over night, and retrieved the following day.

Off-channel habitats are aquatic areas connected to mainstream rivers for all or part of the year. These habitats are critical to the long-term survival of salmon populations. Okanagan River channelization and floodplain development have destroyed, fragmented, or significantly degraded these off-channel areas, greatly contributing to the decline of resident and ocean-going fish species. This work ultimately supports the Syilx Okanagan Nation’s efforts to restore the Okanagan River system, best summarized by the late Chief Albert Saddleman, to put back the river, bring back the fish, and put back the people.

This project is funded by the federal Indigenous Habitat Participation Program, with the support of Penticton Indian Band and Osoyoos Indian Band. The ONA is thankful for the ongoing support of Okanagan residents.

For More Information Contact:

Elinor McGrath, ONA Fisheries Biologist

Email: emcgrath@syilx.org

Phone: (250) 707-0095 ext. 102

Press Release – Spring Salmon Sampling May 27 2021


Congratulations y̓ilmixʷm ki law na Chief Clarence Louie on being named as an Honorary Degree recipient from the University of British Columbia

March 31st, 2021

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Okanagan Territory: It is our Syilx tradition to celebrate the achievements of our people and we would like to celebrate the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) recognition of y̓ilmixʷm ki law na, Clarence Louie, as one of UBC’s 2021 Honorary Degree recipients. Today, we acknowledge and honor ki law na for this extraordinary achievement and recognition of his contribution to the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Syilx Okanagan Nation.

UBC’s recognition stated, “Since his election in December of 1984 as Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band of the Okanagan Nation, Clarence Joseph Louie has consistently emphasized economic development as a means to improve his people’s standard of living. Under his direction, the Band has become a multi‐faceted corporation that owns and manages eleven businesses and five joint ventures, employing approximately one thousand people. At the same time, he has consistently demonstrated his belief that First Nations leaders have a responsibility to incorporate First Nations language and culture in all socio‐economic initiatives as a means to preserve Indigenous heritage.”

Chief Louie has received numerous recognitions and awards including a number of aboriginal business awards over the years. In 2006 he was awarded the Order of British Columbia, in 2017, was named to the Order of Canada and in 2019 he was the first Indigenous inductee into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.
On behalf of the Syilx Okanagan people, we want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to

ki law na, for his years of leadership and commitment to economic development and serving his community and Syilx Okanagan Nation for over 34 years.

Lim’ Limpt.

 

For More Information Contact:
Tara Montgomery, ONA Communications Lead
Email: tmontgomery@syilx.org Phone: (250) 862-6866

Chief Clarence Louie UBC Degree Media Release


Supporting CCT Donations Drive

September 14th, 2020

In response to the ongoing fires on the Colville Reservation, the ONA is collecting donations to support the families affected. These donations will be delivered to them next week. Any contributions are greatly appreciated.

Drop Off Date, Time and Locations:

Westbank – Sept 14-16, 2020 8:30am – 4:30pm at ONA main office

Oliver: Sept 15, 2020 12:30pm – 3:00pm at OIB band office parking lot

Keremeos: Sept 15, 2020 3:30pm – 5:30pm at LSIB band office parking lot

Penticton: Sept 16, 2020 5:00pm – 7:00pm at ONA Wade office

 

See poster for more details and items we are looking for and accepting:

Colville Donations Poster


Congratulations qʷyqʷʕayáx̌n: stim aʔ ckistxʷ What do You do?

August 10th, 2020

The Okanagan Nation Alliance would like to congratulate qʷyqʷʕayáx̌n Levi Bent on his new book “stim aʔ ckistxʷ what do you do?”

If you wish to purchase a copy and support qʷyqʷʕayáx̌n Levi, email nxastatkw Elizabeth Bent at: nxastatkw@gmail.com

” I have been involved in learning and teaching nsyilxcen for over 10 years and am eager to share nsyilxcen language and culture to children and families in a fun and new light. Being a second language learner myself, I am aware of the unique challenges that we deal with in acquiring our language. It is with complete honesty that I wish to use my talents to help bring back the language of our ancestors” – qʷyqʷʕayáx̌n Levi Bent


Update: Access to sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ (OK Falls) fishery

August 6th, 2020

August 4, 2020

In his new role as Syilx Okanagan Nation Tribal Chair, Chief Clarence Louie and his team met with the Assistant Deputy Minister of the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development yesterday afternoon to discuss the access issues at the sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ (OK Falls) fishery.

BC expressed its willingness to work with the Nation to secure safe, unfettered access to the fishery for our members. BC committed to working with the ONA to identify and implement permanent solutions moving forward. Chief Louie, Tribal Chair, and his ONA technical negotiation team will provide further community updates on this important issue as discussions continue with BC.


2020 Recipients of the Building a Better Future Bursary

July 30th, 2020

Each year the Okanagan Nation Alliance and Fortis BC provide two awards of $1200.00 to financially support eligible Syilx/ Okanagan Nation members enrolled or accepted into a recognized university or college on a full-time basis in a minimum 2 year program. Additionally we have received donations from  Hi-Trax, Lance McLean (PIB) and Progressive Fence, thus we were able to offer two additional $1200.00 bursaries.

This year the Okanagan Nation Alliance is pleased to announce four bursaries as part of this years Building a Better Future Bursary Program. The 2020 recipients are:

 

 


OKANAGAN NATION ALLIANCE ELECTS KI’LOWNA CHIEF CLARENCE LOUIE AS TRIBAL CHAIR

July 28th, 2020

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Okanagan Territory: The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is pleased to announce that Chief Clarence Louie of Osoyoos Indian Band has been elected by the ONA Chiefs Executive Committee as Tribal Chair and spokesperson of the ONA. Chief Louie is the longest standing Chief within the Nation and will no doubt provide strong leadership based on his years of experience, knowledge and past service to the Nation.

 

PRESS RELEASE – ONA Announces Chief Clarence Louie as Tribal Chair

 


Mission Creek Restoration Initiative Effectiveness Monitoring, 2016-2019

July 15th, 2020

The Mission Creek Restoration Initiative (MCRI) is a multi-stakeholder partnership formed in 2008 to address declining fish stocks and restore natural function to the lower reaches of Mission Creek, located in Kelowna, BC.

Phase I restoration began in 2015-2016 in a stretch of Mission Creek downstream of Casorso Road, where 540 m of the southern dike trail was setback. This setback resulted in 18,000 m2 floodplain re-engagement and side channel reconnection. In addition, habitat features were installed and four notch pools were excavated in left bank to re-meander the stream. Adaptive management occurred in 2018 to improve side channel flow patterns and remove accumulated sediment. In 2019, boulder clusters in two different formations were installed to direct flow into meander notch 2 and to increase habitat complexity.

Post-construction monitoring of fish habitat and site use has been conducted annually since 2016 to document effectiveness and inform adaptive management.

Read the report here: ONA_MCRI Effectiveness Monitoring 2019 FINAL

ONA is happy to continue working with the MCRI Steering Committee to bring back the health of Mission Creek.  Many thanks to the Steering Committee:

  • BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
  • Central Okanagan Land Trust
  • City of Kelowna
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Friends of Mission Creek
  • Okanagan Nation Alliance
  • Regional District of Central Okanagan
  • Westbank First Nation

The Okanagan Nation Alliance looks forward to continuing to document the successes and challenges of these projects as part of the larger vision of Okanagan Nation Elders in healing the watershed and kł cp̓əlk stim̓ – ’cause to come back’.

 

 

 


2020 Syilx Okanagan Nation Member Graduate Form

May 14th, 2020

Calling all Syilx Okanagan Nation Member 2020 graduates!

If you are graduating or know someone who is graduating please complete the google form: https://forms.gle/gRZW6ey3LiJknQZXA

The Okanagan Nation Alliance would like to recognize and acknowledge all Syilx Okanagan Nation members who are graduating this year. If you are graduating or know someone who is graduating please complete the form.


University of Alberta Salmon Health Research Project 2020

May 4th, 2020

The University of Alberta releases an Article titled Traditional Food, Health, and Diet Quality in Syilx Okanagan Adults in British Columbia, Canada which conducted research within the Okanagan Nation and analyzes health indicators and diet quality among 265 Syilx Okanagan adults. Due to COVID-19 the Research Team could not present to communities directly as previously planned.

This study is a component of the Okanagan Salmon and Our Health Study, which is a joint project between the Okanagan Nation Alliance, University of Alberta, Université de Montréal, and Syilx communities. The objective of the overarching study is to document the health and health equity outcomes of the Syilx Okanagan Nation initiatives that led to the reintroduction of Okanagan sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in the Okanagan River upstream of Osoyoos Lake.

If you are interested in learning more please review the following documents:

Traditional Food Health and Diet Quality in Syilx Okanagan Adults

Diet Quality infographic April 9 2020

 


UPDATE: ONA RESPONSE TO COVID-19

March 18th, 2020

UPDATE: ONA RESPONSE TO COVID-19

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Okanagan Territory: On March 18, 2020, as of today, ONA offices are only open for staff. Over the next few days, ONA staff will be transitioning to working from home as much as possible to mitigate risks and to ensure we do our part in keeping Nation members and partners safe. During this time, we remain committed to fulfilling our responsibilities to our Syilx Okanagan Nation families and communities. We will continue to be available by phone, email, or social media. The following staff may be contacted if you have any questions:

  • Pauline Terbasket, Executive Director – 250-878-6242
  • Jennifer Lewis, Wellness Manager – 250-826-7844
  • Howie Wright, Fisheries Program Manager – 250-718-5215
  • Cailyn Glasser, Natural Resources Operations Biologist – 250-469-1595
  • Carol Roberts, Financial Administrator – 250-707-0095 ext. 207
  • Charlotte Armstrong, Executive Assistant – 250-707-0095 ext. 208
  • Tara Montgomery, Communications Lead – 250-862-6866

ONA, Covid-19 Communiqué

March 16th, 2020

All service recipients and contractors in ONA workplaces are requested to please refrain from in person visits to ONA offices, workplaces and worksites, and to utilize phone calls, conference calls, e-mail or any other form of electronic messaging as means of communication with the ONA, until further notice.

Travel outside of Canada is not advised. Those who do so are required to upon return, self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

If you are in close proximity of others, it is advised to stand or sit two meters (six feet) apart in an attempt to contain the possibility of spread.

Please actively implement recommended prevention measures of spread by: a) Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water b) Use alcohol based hand rubs if a sink is not available c) Do not touch your eyes, face or mouth with unwashed hands d) Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and use a tissue. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow e) Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

  • Stay home if you are sick with any symptoms to contain spread of Covid-19.
  • Self-isolate if other family/household members are self-isolating or are sick with any symptoms.
  • Anyone who is concerned that they may have been exposed to, or is experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, should call: HealthLinkBC at 811 anytime.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has also set up a: Covid-19 telephone information line 1-833-784-4397.


Syilx Solidarity Statement

February 28th, 2020

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory:     The Syilx Okanagan Nation stands in solidarity with the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en in their meetings with the federal and provincial governments on Wet’suwet’en Territory.

In the wake of provincial legislation applying the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to BC laws and the federal government’s commitment to introduce similar federal legislation, the Wet’suwet’en crisis shines a national light on the on-going issue of Title and Rights recognition in British Columbia. This long-standing issue has remained largely unresolved despite the 1997 Delgamuukw decision where the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that Wet’suwet’en Title and Rights have never been extinguished.

The Syilx Okanagan Nation calls on the provincial and federal governments to work in good faith with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, charting a pathway forward that both respects Wet’suwet’en Title and Rights and full and meaningful implementation of UNDRIP. Aspirational words about reconciliation are not enough. What is required is full respect and recognition of Indigenous laws, governance, and title and rights, not only for the Wet’suwet’en, but for all Indigenous Nations.

Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip, Chair for the Syilx Okanagan Nation has stated that, “Canada and BC must move beyond political mumbling and empty rhetoric and immediately take action to honor the invitation of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.to meet face-to-face. Furthermore the RCMP occupation force must immediately leave Wet’suwet’en Territory and Coastal Gas Link must agree to reroute the pipeline.” He further stated that, “It is time for Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier John Horgan to, ‘walk the walk‘”.

Media Inquiries:

Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip, ONA Chair

T: 250-490-5314


qʷʕay snk̓lip Blue Coyote Book

November 20th, 2019

The Okanagan Nation Alliance is proud to announce our new book, qʷʕay snk̓lip Blue Coyote by Billie Kruger, which will be launched at the Okanagan Nation Wellness Gathering November 20, 2019. Billie is an Okanagan Nation interdisciplinary artist from the Okanagan Indian Band. She studied at the En’owkin Center and Paul Creek Language Association and is a beginner speaker of the nsyilxcәn language. Billie has created many works: sewing, beading, and traditional art practice. She has a strong connection to the land and her ancestors to which she attributes her success as an artist.

The book is a contemporary Syilx captikwł about snk̓lip, a gorgeous being created by k̓ʷəlncutn to rid the world of nʔaɬnaʔsqilxʷtn in preparation for the sqilxw that would come. snk̓lip was made to be courageous, strong, and intelligent and was gifted with special powers to aid him in transforming the nʔaɬnaʔsqilxʷtn. snk̓lip was confident in his abilities to carry out this important job, sometimes a little too confident. Eventually, after battling countless nʔaɬnaʔsqilxʷtn so bravely, the burden of the enormous responsibility began to ware on snk̓lip. He became exhausted and his anxiety grew with each battle. snk̓lip fell into a deep depression and was filled with shame, hate and anger towards himself. Even the support of his friends and family could not help him, only snk̓lip could help himself. Through ceremony, connecting to the land, and sharing his story could snk̓lip begin to heal and reclaim his power.

The Okanagan Nation Alliance is committed to ensuring that our captikwł, our nsyilxcən language, and our Syilx teachings continue to shape our path forward. This book was created as a resource in hopes that it will create a greater awareness of mental health issues while providing an opportunity for greater mindfulness of the importance cultural identity and community play in the well-being of First Nations. A growing body of research shines a light on how such connections to community and land cannot only prevent, but also restore physical, mental and spiritual well-being of our people. These cultural practices of connecting to our land have always been an intrinsic part of Syilx life.

 


For our people, land and waters – continuing the Nation rebuilding work of our ancestors

September 10th, 2019

At the direction of the Chiefs Executive Council, a Recognition Agreement was negotiated with the federal government to protect and advance our Syilx Nation’s collective Title and Rights. This would require the federal government to make a significant funding commitment to support the Syilx Nation’s work to develop and implement our Syilx Nation governance. Even though the agreement was approved in principle by Cabinet, the federal government has informed our negotiators that it ran out of time to get the necessary Finance approvals needed for this agreement to be signed before the Fall 2019 election. Syilx Nation level and local community discussions on the Recognition Agreement that were scheduled for this August had to be postponed.

Pending the outcome of the federal election, it’s important to keep working together in our Nation to understand the precedent-setting importance of this Recognition agreement for our people today and for our future generations.

At the same time, our Syilx Nation rebuilding and decolonization work continues through the community-led Syilx Nation Rising process. We continue the work of our ancestors to rebuild a unified Syilx Nation government guided by ankc’x̌ʷiplaʔtntət  uɬ  yʕat  iʔ  ks  səctxət̕stim – our laws and responsibilities which we will create and approve together as Syilx Nation members.

Syilx Nation Rising community engagement update


Okanagan Nation and FortisBC – BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE BURSARY – 2019 RECIPIENTS

September 4th, 2019

Brittany Mullin

Brittany has completed her Bachelor of Dental Science at UBC Vancouver, and is setting her sights on the next academic endeavor. In September 2019 Brittany will begin a Master’s in Public Health program at The University of Victoria. She wishes to broaden her lens and work more with communities, helping those who may be missed by the system, or do not fit within the framework of the current system. Her long term goals include working to develop a health care system that meets the needs of all Canadians by working with Communities, health authorities, and partaking in research, and advocacy.

 

“Through my bachelor’s degree experience and my experience with the First Nations Health Authority at the International Indigenous Allied Health Conference, I came to realize the true scope of the health crisis amongst our indigenous populations. They are often unable to access care due to a lack of services in their region, or through unwillingness to access current service due to fear of discrimination and safety. I plan to use my professional designation as my platform by establishing an independent mobile hygienic clinic to work with rural and remote Indigenous communities, offering them oral hygiene services and support that are culturally safe. This will benefit both individuals, and communities but I want to create change on a larger scale still.”

 

Keianna James

Keianna is a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band, and current student at Thompson River University. She has chosen a path of passion exploring her interest in science. Upon completing her Bachelor of Science in Biology she is looking towards an additional two years of school in the field of Optometry. Keianna has a dream of starting an indigenized Optometry office on Osoyoos Indian Band land with the intention of making eye care more affordable, and comfortable for her community.

“To create and become a positive change in my community and for all indigenous peoples would be and has always been my absolute goal. Indigenous peoples have been growing into strong, beautiful communities, and changing for the better, and this great change needs to continue, so that we can make our ancestors, relatives, people, and family proud. I am honored to be an Okanagan Woman from Osoyoos Indian Band, and I plan on continuing my education to not only improve my life, but also the lives of my community, in the form of health care in optometry.”


BRIDGES Community Feature: Recognition of Success

February 6th, 2019

We would like to recognize BRIDGES participant Tara Stanley,

Wey’ my name is Tara Stanley, my father is Bruce Abel from Westbank First Nation and my mother the late Theresa (Tess) Stanley from Akisq’nuk. My Maternal grandparents are the late Doreen Stanley (?Akisq’nuk) and the late Albert Ignatius (Yaqan Nukiy), my paternal grandparents are Edna Abel (Westbank First Nations) and the late Eddie Kruger (Penticton Indian Band). I was born in Kelowna, BC.  and raised in Westbank, BC.

I first heard about the BRIDGES program when I was in the Active Measures classes with WFN. I signed up for the “Enriching My Life” (youth TEK series) that was held during the summer of 2017, travelling throughout the territory learning about place names, captikwl, plant knowledge and getting to know other nation members.  The BRIDGES program has helped me in so many ways, not only through education but they helped me mentally and spiritually with bringing us (the youth) out on the land to gain knowledge and grow closer with my spirit.

I have taken the entrepreneur step to start an E-juice company with my fiancé Jesse Regan in the summer of 2018. I am currently going to the Okanagan School of Business for my two year diploma to learn more about entrepreneurship. I wear many hats: running a business, going to school full-time, working at Okanagan Nation Alliance in the Natural Resources department (sometimes photographer for events as well), on the WFN Public Arts Committee, the Siya? Celebration committee, a cultural teacher since the age of ten sharing my knowledge of song and dance, and a mother of Trey Stanley who is ten years of age.

BRIDGES has helped me to achieve my goals. When I am finished the BRIDGES program I hope to stay connected with the organization in helping our next generation with knowledge of what is available for them. I highly recommend the BRIDGES program to our future leaders.


BRIDGES Community Feature: Recognition of Success

December 19th, 2018

We would like to recognize BRIDGES participant Taylor Lezard, 

My name is Taylor Lezard, I am from the Penticton Indian Band. An employment goal of mine is to find a career as an esthetician in a high end spa. I am continuously educating myself. I have just completed my esthetics program and am currently finishing off my high school, along with taking an Nsyilxcən language class. I first heard about BRIDGES from Kathy Pierre, the Director of Education for the Penticton Indian Band. The different events and programs BRIDGES has put on have always interested me. I love learning about my culture and community and BRIDGES has provided that. The support I’ve gotten these past few months has helped me a lot while I was completing my post-secondary. Once I’m finished the BRIDGES program I hope to gain enough knowledge and experience to know how to support myself throughout the rest of my life. I would recommend BRIDGES to others.

 

BRIDGES is available to Syilx unemployed or under-employed aged 15-30 who would benefit from support in their transition into the labor market (i.e., education and training, job shadowing, interships, etc.)

 


What’s Cookin’

December 11th, 2018

Healthy Schools Cooking in the Classroom update:

Since September 2018, ONA has provided to the Okanagan Schools through the Health Promoting Schools programming. Over 90 students, at 3 schools have had the opportunity to participate in cooking, and enjoying foods based learning at school!

I hope the pictures convey the absolute excitement and joy the kids have cooking at every school!

Jenny Martin, Health Promoting School Coordinator OIB, LSIB, WFN, PIB

 


Syilx Nation’s Annual General Assembly Commemorates the 1990 Oka Run for Peace

August 16th, 2017

swiw’s (Osoyoos), Syilx Territory, British Columbia: With global political and social turmoil on the rise it has never been more important to have a united voice advocating for peace, justice and human rights.

On August 17 as part of the Okanagan Nation’s Annual General Assembly (AGA) a run will take place from chuchuwaya (Hedley) to swiw’s, BC, to commemorate the OKA Run for Peace. The original Run took place in the summer 1990 over six weeks, and saw more than 73 Okanagan Nation members run from Syilx to Kanehsatà:ke territory to show solidarity with the Mohawk resistance to developments on their sacred burial grounds during the Oka Crisis.

Chief Clarence Louie affirmed that “This Commemoration Run is meant to honor and recognize this time Syilx history where the Syilx Nation took a stand for peace and solidarity with the Kahnawá:ke during the Oka Crisis and whereby all Indian Nations continue to do so to protect their lands, peoples and resources”. The same struggles that ignited the 1990 Oka Crisis persist within the Okanagan territory, as Chief Keith Crow states that “it is a disgrace that we have had to wait almost a year and a half, and still we have no resolve on our disturbed ancestral burial grounds”.

These historical acts continue to resonate with the current need to face the challenges imposed on Syilx territory and our member communities and indigenous peoples across Canada. Though the Oka Crisis highlighted the struggles faced by indigenous communities in Canada we continue to demand for the right and responsibility to protect our sacred sites and territories. The nation will welcome Ellen Gabriel, a Kanehsatà:ke Mohawk Territory indigenous human rights activist and a key spokesperson during the Oka Crisis, to the event.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip (ONA Chairman) stated, “the ONA’s 2017 Annual General Assembly provides Syilx people with the opportunity to gather as a Nation, to celebrate the many successes that have taken place for our people over the last year, and reflect on the challenges that we continue to face. With an ambitious political agenda from the Province of BC to fully embrace the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, endorment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action and support our ongoing opposition to the Site C dam project, Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal and BC/Petronas’s Lelu Island LNG facility, the coming year will demand that we stand united to ensure that our collective Title and Rights are recognized and respected”.

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.

For further information please contact:

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

ONA Chair

1-250-490-5314

Tara Montgomery

 ONA Communications Lead

 1-250-707-0095 ext. 120

Okanagan Nation Alliance

101-3500 Old Okanagan Hwy Westbank, BC V4T 3J6: (250) 707-0095 www.syilx.org

Media Advisory