News

Columbia River Treaty Agreement in Principle

July 11th, 2024

The Syilx Okanagan Nation acknowledges the completion of an Agreement in Principle (AIP) between Canada and the United States to modernize the Columbia River Treaty (CRT), which is a milestone in the Canada-US CRT negotiations:

Statement by the Prime Minister on an agreement-in-principle reached between Canada and the United States on the Columbia River Treaty

Canada, U.S. reach agreement-in-principle to modernize Columbia River Treaty

Importantly, the AIP sets out an approach that will result in ecosystem and cultural values being considered in CRT dam operations and measures being taken to support salmon in the Columbia River system. A modernized CRT will not just focus on power production and flood control as is the case currently. These are critically important measures, but there is much more work to do to address CRT impacts on the Nation.

Canada entered into the CRT with the US in 1964 to coordinate flood control and optimize hydroelectric energy production on both sides of the Canada – US border. It was entered into without any consultation with, or consent from, the Syilx Okanagan Nation. It resulted in the construction of three major dams in the Upper Columbia Basin that flooded the Arrow Lakes and converted the Upper Columbia watershed into a massive reservoir system, resulting in the devastation of large swaths of Syilx Okanagan Nation Territory, the loss of Nation members’ ability to exercise rights in areas of the Territory, and desecration of ancestral burial and cultural sites.

Canada and the US started renegotiating the CRT in the spring of 2018, as the guaranteed flood control provisions otherwise terminate in September this year. Through the hard work and dedication of Syilx Okanagan leadership, Canada granted observer status to the Syilx Okanagan Nation (along with the Ktunaxa and Secwepemc Nations) in 2019. This has allowed the CEC’s negotiating team to participate in the negotiations with the US – an international precedent and a testament to the strength of a unified approach.  Canada and BC also committed to seeking the free, prior and informed consent of the Nation to the terms of a modernized CRT.

The Nation’s involvement as observers in the negotiations was important for the protection of the Nation’s Aboriginal title and self-governance rights in the tmxʷulaxʷ. However, the completion of an AIP between Canada and the US is just one step. Although we are on a path of reconciliation with Canada and BC in relation to the CRT, whether true reconciliation will be achieved will depend on the success of ongoing domestic negotiations with Canada and BC on compensation for the impacts to the Nation’s lands, waters, ceremonies and people; long-term revenue sharing of CRT-related benefits; and a meaningful role in decision making on CRT-related matters. The CEC looks forward to making progress in these negotiations over the coming months.

We still have lots of work to do before the Nation can consider providing free, prior and informed consent to a full modernized CRT. In the meantime, much work also remains for Canada and the US to draft the text of the modernized CRT based on the terms set out in the AIP.

July 11, 2024

Columbia River Treaty Agreement in Principle


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 […]

Decades of Advocacy and Collaboration lead to a ki?lawna? (Grizzly Bear) Restoration Plan for the North Cascades as the US recently Releases a Joint Record of Decision

April 30th, 2024

tkwəɬniwt Westbank, BC: With great support and celebration, the Syilx Okanagan Nation commends the National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for the Announcement of the Decision to Actively Restore ki?lawna? (Grizzly Bear) to the North Cascades Ecosystem. The Nation looks forward to continuing our collaboration with the U.S. to restore grizzly bear […]

Caught Pike?

April 18th, 2024

Northern Pike Pose a Significant Threat to the Columbia River Fisheries Enter to Claim for $200, $100 or $50 Prizes WHY ARE THEY A THREAT? They prey on native and important game species, introduce parasites and disease, and compete with other species for food resources. HOW TO HELP? Help keep their numbers low by participating […]

Restoration of kiɁlawnaɁ (Grizzly Bear) to the US North Cascades Ecosystem

October 6th, 2023

Syilx Okanagan Nation Commend the Biden Administration for release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to Restore kiɁlawnaɁ (Grizzly Bear) to the US North Cascades Ecosystem It is with much anticipation and hope, of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, that with the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to restore kiɁlawnaɁ to the North Cascades […]

2023 Syilx Siya Awards For High School Graduates of 2022/2023 Recipients!

August 23rd, 2023

Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2023 Syilx Siya Awards For High School Graduates of 2022/2023 The Syilx Siya Bursary is awarded to 3 Syilx Okanagan high school graduates who have demonstrated a willingness to dream big for themselves, their Nation, their community, and/or their family. Award recipients will have educational goals and the drive […]

Okanagan Lake (Penticton Dam) PIT Array Installation

August 4th, 2023

The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is installing a Passive Integrated Technology (PIT) antenna array, contributing to the network of four current mainstem Okanagan River arrays and four tributary arrays within the Canadian portion of the Okanagan Valley. These arrays provide invaluable data to fisheries and resource managers regarding the migrations of anadromous salmonids (Sockeye, Chinook, […]

Agreements address Columbia River Treaty impacts on Indigenous Nations

June 9th, 2023

The Ktunaxa, Secwépemc and Syilx Okanagan Nations and their members will benefit from new interim agreements that share revenue generated from the Columbia River Treaty. Read Full Article Here Through the three separate interim agreements, the Ktunaxa Nation, Secwépemc Nation and Syilx Okanagan Nation will each receive 5% of the revenue generated through the sale […]

Syilx Okanagan Nation Extend Range of Salmon Reintroduction Efforts on kłusxnitkw Tributaries, Including Lower Vernon Creek

May 8th, 2023

What: The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) are honoured to announce that our efforts on reintroducing sc’win (Okanagan sockeye salmon) on Syilx territory will extend to multiple other tributaries that feed into kłusxnitkw (Okanagan Lake) over the 2023 season. This work is a continuation of the Syilx Nation commitment to our responsibilities of restoring and reintroducing […]

Years of Syilx Okanagan Nation Actions Bring Awareness to the Protection of the Last Remaining styiɬcʼʔ (Caribou)

April 15th, 2023

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Syilx Okanagan Nation acknowledge recent actions taken by the BC Government and Parks Canada to relocate the last remaining styiɬcʼʔ from the Columbia South herd to the Central Selkirks maternity pen. For years Syilx Okanagan Nation leadership has prioritized the protection of styiɬcʼʔ as a critical part of Syilx Okanagan Title, […]

Calling All Anglers To Report Catching Northern Pike In The Columbia River

April 13th, 2023

snɬuxwqnm (Castlegar), Syilx Territory: The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is calling all anglers to support suppression efforts of Northern Pike. We request that all anglers catching Northern Pike in the nx̌ʷntk’ʷitkʷ (Columbia River), including the Pend d’Oreille, Kootenay, Columbia and Kettle Rivers report these catches to Ross Zeleznik, ONA Fisheries Biologist, Castlegar Office Phone: 250-687-0340 […]

Osoyoos Indian Band Historic Reserve Celebration

April 13th, 2023

An invitation goes out to all Syilx Nation members to gather and celebrate the purchase of this important cultural and salmon fishing site that was previously taken from us. The celebration will take place on April 14 at 11:30 am at 5444 Hawthorne Place, Okanagan Falls. Because of the cultural and historic significance of this […]

yilíkʷlxkn (Bighorn Sheep) Diseases

March 29th, 2023

yilíkʷlxkn in the southern Okanagan region have been experiencing a steady population decline. This decline is theorized to be due in part to infection by pneumonia or Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (M. ovi), psoroptes (Psoroptes cuniculi) mites and Bluetongue contributing to overall poor yilíkʷlxkn health. The widespread reduction of available and suitable ranges, and increased human pressure […]

ONA ‘Fish in Schools’ Program Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary

January 17th, 2023

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: This last week the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) celebrated the 20th year of the Fish in Schools (FinS) program by delivering a final round of the fish tanks and equipment to 50 schools and institutions throughout Syilx territory. Over the last 20 years the program has rippled out to Band, Public, […]

Sockeye Run Makes Historic Returns to Tributaries on kłusxnitkw (Okanagan Lake)

October 31st, 2022

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) are honoured to announce the return of sc’win (Sockeye Salmon) back to many of the tributaries that feed into kłusxnitkw over the 2022 season. Since 2019 ONA has worked to achieve salmon passage at Okanagan Dam in Penticton. The importance of returning sc’win to kłusxnitkw is […]

Osoyoos Indian Band Reacts to Community Safety Unit Raid of Local Business

October 22nd, 2022

OSOYOOS, BRITISH COLUMBIA (October 21, 2022) – The Osoyoos Indian Band (“OIB”) and Okanagan Nation Alliance (“ONA”) are outraged at the conduct of the Community Safety Unit in raiding a local business without the OIB’s consent. On October 19, 2022, after previously assuring OIB’s Chief and Council that they would not enter OIB lands without […]

Syilx Okanagan Nation Annual Gathering Raises Awareness About Violence and Systemic Racism Regarding Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Girls Two-Spirit+ and Kin

October 5th, 2022

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: From October 5-6, 2022, the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) will host the 4th Annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit+ Gathering. This event supports our Nation members to come together in solidarity, share stories and experience, and take action to ensure women, girls, two-spirit plus and kin are safe […]

Open Letter for a Public Inquiry into the Ministry of Children and Family Services following the Fraud and Thefts of Robert R. Saunders

October 3rd, 2022

We are writing this letter on behalf of the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) Chief’s Executive Council (CEC) in regards to Child Protection and Resource worker Robert Riley Saunders (Saunders). Saunders had spent over a decade stealing support services funding from mostly indigenous youth in foster care with the use of a falsified Social Work degree. […]

Syilx Okanagan Nation Demand Justice on National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

September 29th, 2022

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: On September 30, 2022, starting at 10 am, the Syilx Okanagan Nation will host a 5 kilometer “Walk for the Children”. This takes place on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, the walk will go from the Penticton Peach at Okanagan Lake and move to the Syilx Indian Residential School […]

Syilx Okanagan Nation’s Salmon Feast Celebrates the Sacredness of the River at Traditional Fishing Camp sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitk

September 16th, 2022

sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ, Syilx Okanagan Territory: From September 16-18, 2022, Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, youth and community members from across the Syilx Okanagan Nation will gather at sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ (Okanagan Falls), a culturally significant site that was formally a part of the Osoyoos Indian Reserve, to take part in the annual Salmon Feast. This year’s gathering is particularly significant due to […]

Okanagan Nation Alliance’s Co-Publication Wins 2021 Mercer Patriarche Best Paper in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management

August 24th, 2022

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Okanagan Nation Alliance is honoured to announce that their co-authored publication “Age-Structured Interactions among Reintroduced Sockeye Salmon, Resident Kokanee, Invasive Mysids, and their Zooplankton Prey in Skaha Lake, British Columbia” was selected by the American Fisheries Society as the best publication for 2021 in the North American Journal of Fisheries […]

Building a Better Future Bursary Receipents

August 11th, 2022

The ability of Syilx students to access post-secondary education is central to our Nation moving forward and our voices being heard. This year the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Fortis BC and EMB Management Ltd. provided a total of 12 awards to financially support eligible Syilx Okanagan Nation students. The Building a Better Future Bursary has been […]

In the Face of Continued Colonial Practices, Syilx Okanagan Nation Sign the axá iʔ sccuntət iʔ tl x̌aʔxítət x̌l iʔ nəqsil̓tət (Family Declaration) at Annual General Assembly to Protect Children and Families

July 28th, 2022

snkx̌ykntn (Revelstoke), Syilx Territory:  From July 26 – 28, 2022, the Okanagan Nation Alliance hosted our Annual General Assembly in snkx̌ykntn. This annual event gathered Syilx Okanagan members from across the Nation — including leaders, Elders, traditional knowledge keepers, youth and community members — to celebrate the many successes that have taken place for Syilx […]

Okanagan sc’win (sockeye) Information and Updates

July 13th, 2022

Based on harvest information gathered since 2008, we are estimating a higher than average number of sc’win (sockeye salmon) to return to the Columbia watershed (and thus Okanagan subbasin) for the 2022 season. Returns of sc’win are monitored by tracking the numbers of fish that go through various dams and sites on the Columbia River. […]