Okanagan Nation Alliance is pround to support this grassroots movement.
This is not an Okanagn Nation Alliance event but an event hosted and created by the Okanagan people themselves to practice our right to cross the border as outlined in The Jay Treaty. It was first created in 1999 and the participants paddle from the Canadian side of the border and paddle across the border on traditional dugout caones.
In Partnership with the En’owkin Centre, we will be examining Syilx Captikwl (stories) and how it connects with the development and operation of a Syilx organization as well as how to integrate Syilx values and principles within Captikwl and the utilization of stories in family violence.
Join our celebration and honor the sacredness of the River
It is one of the goals of the Syilx (Okanagan) Nation to carry on the work of the peoples 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: traditional performances and ceremonies, a canoe paddle, stick game tournament, and on the final day (Sunday) a salmon feast and ceremony for snxa?l’iwlem (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 a 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.
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:
We honor 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.
Between 140 and 200 Okanagan Nation members will come together over the 4 day event, with a minimum of 100 partakers joining for the entire 4 days. Based on the previous years, the average age of runners will be in between the ages of 14 and 18 years of age, 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.
The event if free to participate, the run is covered through programs and donations. Each participant will also get a free tank top for participating.
2020 marks the 11th annual Spirit of Syilx Unity Run. This year, due to social distancing and isolation precautions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will not be possible to run throughout the Territory as a group this year. However, the ONA has decided to move forward with a “virtual Unity Run” from June 3-7, 2020. The run this year will “start” at Manning Park to Princeton to Summerland via the Summerland-Princeton road and then down into Penticton up towards Carmi for a total of 250kms. There will also be virtual workshops each day in place of the educational activities that usually happen along the run.
HOW WILL THE VIRTUAL RUN WORK?
The virtual run will happen via an online program called “Racery”. Racery is a virtual race platform that allows participants to track where they are in a race by logging their kilometers ran, but they do not have to be on the actual route. For the Unity Run, there will be 1 racer on the platform, the Unity Runner. The ONA communications team will be able to log kilometers ran by participants and add them in to the platform as ran by the Unity Runner as he travels along the proposed route.
One of the questions asks for your name on Facebook (ex. some people may use a nickname and it may not be what you have registered as). You must have a Facebook account or someone who can be added on your behalf to complete your registration. Request to join the group at the link here and ONA will add you to the 2020 Unity Run Facebook Group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/916228645466034/?ref=share
Once you have been added to the Facebook Group, you must leave a comment on the page with a photo or video of yourself explaining how you are training for the upcoming run. If you are a family, you can submit one photo or video will all participants included in it, just include all names in the description.
Your completed registration form and successful photo or video post in the Facebook group will complete your registration and your tank top will be mailed.
NOTE: You MUST have your registration completed BEFORE 8:30AM MONDAY MAY 25 to receive a tank top. Registrations past that time will not get a tank top.
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.
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 at 11:45 am along with a giveaway. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate.
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.
At the core of the Okanagan Nation’s Water Forums is our shared concern for how water is managed and recognized in the region. With these concerns in mind there are questions of how we might move towards effective partnerships and working relationships to find solutions to a better water future in the Okanagan.