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20th Anniversary Sockeye Fry Release Ceremony at akɬ xʷuminaʔ, Shingle Creek on May 2, 2024

May 3rd, 2024

The 20th anniversary celebration of the sockeye salmon fry release along the Penticton channel riverbanks was a heartening display of community involvement and commitment to environmental stewardship. This annual release ceremony is part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the sockeye salmon population in local waterways and educate the public about the importance of culture and conservation.

The presence of over 700 students from various schools in the South Okanagan, participating through the Fish in Schools program, reflects a concerted effort to engage and educate the younger generation about the significance of restoring ntytyix, chief salmon and the importance of ceremony. As well as the responsibility we as Syilx people have to the land and water.

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel said that even though the event has been ongoing for 20 years, this was the largest he had seen to date.  The nation was joined by our Fish in Schools program, with over 700 students throughout the south Okanagan in attendance.  Each student was gifted a can of Okanagan Select Salmon.

“It’s just a beautiful sight to see the children here, because they need to learn about these things. They are our future caretakers of the land and this is an important part of it,” Gabriel said.

“The more we educate each other, the general public and even our own community members, it’s going to make it easier for our future to survive, and especially things like our salmon, which is so important for our own people,” Gabriel said.

The ONA’s comprehensive approach, which includes stream restoration, rehabilitation, and dam passage initiatives alongside the fry release, demonstrates a holistic commitment to ensuring the salmon’s long-term survival. The variability in fry numbers from year to year, as noted by Hatchery Biologist Tyson Marsel, underscores the challenges faced in maintaining a sustainable salmon population.

The act of releasing the fry into the channel, accompanied by whispered wishes for their safe return, encapsulates the community’s collective hope for the salmon’s well-being and future abundance. Chief Gabriel’s closing sentiment, expressing a wish for the salmon’s safe return to the community for future feasts, reflects the profound connection between the people and the natural world.

Overall, the anniversary celebration serves as a poignant reminder of the interconnectedness between culture, conservation, and community, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts in safeguarding our environment for generations to come.

Other News Published on this Event:,important%20part%20of%20the%20ceremony.