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.