The Okanagan Nation Alliance(ONA) is proud to share this record of our people’s endurance through the darkest chapter of our collective story. While there are now many books about the Indian residential school system, this is the first to speak about the specific ways in which it has touched the Syilx people. This book is in honour of all members of our Nation who have been impacted by the Indian residential school system—past, present, and future.
This book is a Nation-based story rooted in our Syilx collective memory. It was undertaken through the support of the ONA Chiefs Executive Council in response to the voices of Survivors who were ready to speak and members who drew attention to the impacts of Indian residential schools in our lives today. The stories in this book come from interviews with over 50 people from across the Syilx Okanagan Nation. The invitation to former residential school students to share their stories went out in 2013. Each member band used their own processes to identify who would participate and the interviews were done by Syilx Nation members. Given the sensitivity of these experiences, participants had the option of using their name or having their identity protected.
This book is a beginning—it is not the end. There are more stories to be told, more research to be done. We are actively engaged in the work of rebuilding ourselves, our family systems, and our community. As a Nation, this is part of the resurgence that is bringing our culture, our language, and our people back to strength.
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