Syilx people have managed and cared for wildlife and wildlife habitat since time immemorial and have a continuing responsibility to future generations to provide for and sustain wildlife within Okanagan Nation territory.
Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) wildlife biologists and technicians work to develop, manage, and implement projects and activities that study and benefit wildlife and wildlife habitats, and consequently help to support our people that enjoy and depend on wildlife resources for food, spiritual, and cultural purposes.
The wildlife program provides technical support to and takes strategic direction from the ONA’s Natural Resources Council and so directly serves each member community in achieving its goals for wildlife and wildlife habitat protection and use.
The wildlife program is working to ensure the Nation’s interests in wildlife and wildlife habitat, and hunting and trapping, are recognized and acknowledged in all parts of the territory. At the forefront of our activities is respect for the animals and the land. Currently, we are working on:
- Projects in the Arrow and Kinbasket Reservoirs of the Columbia River basin to assess the relationship between reservoir operations and the plants and animals that use their edges and shallows. These projects involve the monitoring and tracking of songbirds, herons, eagles, other waterfowl, turtles, snakes, small mammals, insects, and other species including plants.
- Developing relationships with provincial government biologists to help build a shared decision-making process for wildlife management in Syilx territory. Issues include the conservation and recovery of species-at-risk, wildlife population management, habitat protection and enhancement, hunting regulation, harvest allocation, revenue-generation, trapline and furbearer management, compliance and enforcement, and acknowledgement of aboriginal hunting and gathering areas.
- Finding ways to more fully engage Syilx youth, elders, hunters, and trappers in community wildlife management and conservation issues, and so help to more fully integrate traditional ecological knowledge and practices into wildlife management decisions for now and into the future.
The wildlife program focuses on projects and activities that study and benefit wildlife and wildlife habitats to help support Syilx people and communities that enjoy and depend on wildlife for food, spiritual and cultural purposes. We respect the animals and the land.