The Four Food Chiefs Gathering is an annual gathering of Syilx Nation members. The event consists of workshops, discussions, presentations, keynotes and activities that focus on connecting to the land and water, connecting to each other, our well-being and learning useful tools to thrive!
Open to all Syilx Nation members – Space is limited due to PHO’s on events. Please Note: Workshops will be offered virtually, but the video and sound may be lower quality due to technical difficulties of the location.
More information for the 2021 Four Food Chiefs Gathering is coming soon!
*Please Note: By order of the PHO, proof of vaccination will be required to attend our in-person events. Starting September 13, you must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. By October 24, you must be fully vaccinated. For more info, please visit: BC Proof of vaccination requirement
This event is subject to change or cancellation due to COVID-19.
Four Food Chiefs Save Date 2021
The Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG) has been a National tragedy over many decades, and has affected Syilx Nation directly through the loss of women and girls within our communities.
The October 2021 gathering focused on highlighting and addressing issues that affect our communities such as family violence, sexual violence, and intergenerational trauma. Our goal is to hold discussions on these topics to guide healing and find solutions for moving forward.
Okanagan Nation Alliance will be hosting 3 Captikʷl Stories Forums this year, in partnership with the Enowkin Centre. The Captikʷl forums are held for feedback and community engagement in examining Syilx captikʷl on the Syilx Way of Living, how lessons from the captikʷl connect with our modern way of living, and how to integrate Syilx values and principles within captikʷl in Policy & Planning.
The Purple Ribbon Campaign is an annual campaign to raise awareness leading up to International Opioid Overdose Awareness Day on August 31. The campaign focuses on sharing resources, promoting discussion, and offering information related to the drug and opioid crisis and is a response to the urgent need to address the stigma that surrounds drug use. Through raising awareness, the campaign supports healing and creating change within our communities and our Nation.
Printable Purple Ribbons: #endoverdose
Emergency Contact List
Home Detox Resource
IH Self-Management Resources
Counting Your Drinks
Safer Drinking Tips
BC COVID-19 Mental Health Network
For more resources and information visit: our-programs-and-services/purple-ribbon-campaign
Calling Syilx Grandmother’s who are passionate about working with children and families
This event is an opportunity for Grandmothers within the Syilx Okanagan Nation to gather and focus on familial roles, Nation needs, and traditional models of child-raising in today’s world. Grandmothers will identify training and capacity needs within the Nation, define and reclaim family roles and responsibilities, and connect with one another.
Responding to the opioid drug crisis
The Syilx Nation Drug Forum is an annual event to create space for sharing of information, resources, tools, stories and personal experiences related to drug and alcohol use. It began in response to the opioid drug crisis and focuses on bringing awareness to overdose. This will be a space for meaningful discussion around what is needed for the Nation going forward; capacity building as well as healing – these are integral elements to overall Syilx well-being which is the main objective of the ONA wellness program. We want to explore the personal experiences of people, families, and communities in the Nation and focus on what the needs are in moving toward wider opportunities for healing. Addiction and overdose is a complex issue that requires complex attention. We want to bring together Nation members, workers, and partners to continue meaningful conversations around addressing needs and creating healing.
This event is for Syilx Nation members and community members only.
tkəłmilxʷ coming together
The YES Program aims to support Syilx Nation members who are dealing with the impacts of family violence. The Women’s Wellness Gathering creates space for women to gather on the land to discuss their roles and responsibilities in keeping our women and girls safe. It is a safe space for women to share openly and to discuss women’s issues freely, developing a spirit of comradery and nationhood.
This event is important because women have gender specific issues and goals that need to be planned and developed in hopes of decreasing violence within our communities. The outcome is a commitment to protect our women and girls and to live violence free. This aligns with YES program deliverables and the need for women’s programming.
sqəl̓tmixʷ coming together
The YES Program aims to support Syilx Okanagan members who are dealing with the impacts of family violence. The Men’s Wellness Gathering creates space for men to gather on the land to discuss their roles and responsibilities in keeping our women and girls safe. It is a safe space for men to share openly and to discuss men’s issues freely, developing a spirit of comradery and nationhood.
This event is important because men have gender specific issues and goals that need to be planned and developed in hopes of decreasing violence within our communities. The outcome is a commitment to protect our women and girls and to live violence free. This aligns with YES program deliverables and the need for men’s programming.
Join our Celebration and Honour the Sacredness of the River
It is one of the goals of the Syilx Okanagan Nation to carry on the work of the people’s ancestors and Elders who taught the importance of preserving and revitalizing the traditions, customs, and language of the Syilx people. The Salmon Feast honours the sacredness of the river at sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ (Okanagan Falls), which is a culturally significant site for the Syilx Okanagan People, and an important traditional fishing camp, gathering place and trading site. The Salmon Feast is a three-day event that involves multiple activities including: ceremonies, a canoe paddle, and on Sunday a salmon feast and ceremony for snx̌aʔiwləm (to honour the sacredness of the river).
The Annual Salmon Feast is an essential practice in the continued organized efforts of the Okanagan Nation Alliance and member communities to raise the importance of the habitat protection and rehabilitation of local ecosystems, watersheds, and renew connections and relationships between all residents of the Region with water and fish. It is vitally important that we honour the salmon so they will always come back to feed the people.
Please Note: Due to the Interior Health COVID-19 restrictions, the annual Okanagan Nation Salmon Feast at sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ Provincial Park, Okanagan Falls will not be taking place this year.
Every year ONA commissions a Syilx artist to produce the artwork for the Salmon Feast Poster. To see the beautiful variety of these artworks, please see the Salmon Feast Artwork Gallery below:
skc exwexwipla/ Uł stełtalt
The Annual General Assembly takes place each summer, along with the Syilx Elder Youth Summit. The event brings together the Syilx Okanagan Nation to celebrate our accomplishments and provide an opportunity for Nation members to come together. The AGA is hosted by each of the Syilx Okanagan communities on a rotating basis.
Honoring Our Ancestors & Praying for the Salmon
We honour our ancestors with this annual ceremony in which we gather in two separate locations along the Columbia River to help pray for the return of the salmon, one on the United States side and one on the Canadian side. This two-day event starts at Kettle Falls, Washington which is organized by the Inchelium Language House Association and with the next day taking place in Castlegar, BC. These locations were chosen for their traditional location our people used to gather at to fish. Both these days start by gathering along the banks of the river to pray for the return of the fish which is then followed by a lunch and giveaway. Everyone is welcome to attend, so please bring your drum and help us pray for the return of the salmon. Registration is not needed.
We run for our people and our land
Between 140 and 200 Okanagan Nation members will come together over the multi-day event, with a minimum of 100 partakers joining for the entire event. Based on the previous years, the average age of runners will be in between the ages of 14 and 18, with the youngest runner being 5 and the oldest in their 60’s. The majority of the runners will be members of Okanagan Nation communities who are chaperoned by designated community members. If you have youth that would like to participate, please contact your local member community youth worker or Wellness/Health department. If you would like to bring your own youth or yourselves please register directly with the ONA.
In 2020, the ONA hosted their first virtual Unity Run due to social distancing and isolation precautions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More info coming Spring 2022 for the Spirit of Syilx Unity Run!
The Early Years Gathering provides opportunity for Aboriginal Early Childhood professionals to engage in a manner that can contribute to capacity building and resource development through a process that draws on the wisdom and experience of the attending staff, managers and parents. This annual two day training fulfills the Professional Development requirements of frontline Early Childhood Development staff in a manner that is grounded in Syilx values and practices.
Kł cp’elk’ stim’
This ceremonial release of 10,000 Okanagan Sockeye fry takes place by members of the Syilx Okanagan Nation and over 430 students from local schools so that kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ (cause to come back) will continue. These fry have been raised as part of Okanagan Nation Alliance’s (ONA) Fish in Schools Program along with fry from the hatchery. ntyitix (salmon) is central to the Syilx Okanagan peoples creation stories and through our captikwl (oral history), passed down through generations; it is our responsibility to be stewards of our lands and waters. These ceremonies with our language, songs and prayers are an integral part of the work that we continue, to ensure our efforts to revitalize our culture. For thousands of years these ceremonies and customs have been brought forward for our children.
The morning kicks off with prayers and songs for the fry’s release in which the schools start to release their fry they have been raising and the public can release fry from the hatchery. When people are done releasing, the kid’s activities are then open next to the kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery in the ballfield. Lunch is provided along with a giveaway. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate.
Way p inłaxexłxap uł iʔspepleltet uł stakwilxtet
The Elder and Youth Gathering is held annually as a platform for relationship building, knowledge transfer and nation building between our elders and youth. The participants come from each of the bands to a new part of our territory each year to become more familiar with the land and learn from each other. This event started as a way to facilitate these goals as well as to gather input from youth and elders on creating strategies to help bridge any gaps between the two groups.
This event takes place over the weekend which includes workshops, keynote addresses, crafts and activities that are geared towards a theme of connecting all the participants together. Having an outdoor activity on the land is an important aspect of the event which connects the youth and elders to the land through stories and language.
All accommodations and meals are covered for this free event. Carpooling to this event is greatly suggested and transportation should be organized with your band’s Elder/Youth Worker. Registration is a must for space, accommodation and meal counts.
Honouring our siwɬkʷ
The Water Forum is an annual event hosted by the ONA Natural Resources Department that works to promote and create public awareness of Syilx Okanagan People and their sacred connection to siwɬkʷ. One of the main goals of the Water Strategy is to improve the way water is managed within Syilx Territory and ensure that clean, flowing water is properly respected and available for all living things. Each year of the Water Forum focuses on a different area within Syilx Okanagan Territory and the water in that area, as well as different topics to focus on each year. The event brings together Syilx Okanagan Nation members, community members, local partners and organizations, and leadership. The event is held on World Water Day, March 22, each year.