The Syilx Okanagan Nation Timeline depicts events that have affected the Syilx Okanagan Nation people and governance as well as have brought us to where we are today.

 | pre 1700s | 1700s | 1800s | 1900s | 2000s |

  • pre 1700s
    Sovereign Syilx Okanagan Nation existed before contact with Europeans.

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  • 1763

    Royal Proclamation  is a document that set out guidelines for European settlement of Aboriginal territories in what is now North America. The document states that the Aboriginal title existed and continues to exist, all land is Aboriginal land until ceded by treaty.
  • 1794

    Jay Treaty signed between Britain and USA permitting Native people from Canada to travel into US, allowing dual citizenship. However, Canada does not honour the Jay Treaty.

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  • 1846

    US – Canadian border (49th parallel) was formed, causing geographical, legal separation of the Syilx Okanagan Nation (Okanagan Nation — Syilx member Bands on the north side and the Colville Confederated Tribe on the south side).
  • 1860s

    Thousands of Syilx Okanagan gathered at Head of the Lake to contemplate declaring war in defense of Syilx Okanagan land rights. As a result, the Dominion of Canada promised to formally set aside lands for the Syilx Okanagan Nation.

  • 1867

    The Constitution Act 1867: Canada becomes a country. The federal government is given authority “to make laws for the Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada” including laws about “Indians and lands reserved for Indians.”
  • 1870

    Surveys began for the establishment of Indian Reserves system under the Indian Act.

  • 1871

    British Columbia joined Confederation, becoming the sixth province of Canada. The Terms of Union state that the federal government will assume responsibility for Indians and British Columbia will retain authority over land and resources.
  • 1876

    BC and Canada establish the Joint Indian Reserve Commission to examine and allot Indian reserves in BC.

  • 1877-1887

    Reserves for the Syilx Okanagan Nation member Bands were allotted by the Joint Indian Reserve Commission.

  • 1880-1894

    Syilx Okanagan Nation Indian Reserves are surveyed.

  • 1888-1893

    Commissioner O’Reilly allotted Indian Reserves on behalf of, and without the consent of, Syilx Okanagan Nation communities.

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  • 1910

    Interior Salish Tribes gathered at Spence’s Bridge, BC and those Nations present signed a Declaration referred to as the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Memorial regarding their Land rights and demanding a just and fair settlement as Indian peoples.
  • 1913

    McKenna-McBride Royal Commission entered the Okanagan Agency to either approve Indian reserves or to make recommendations to cut off reserve lands of the Syilx Okanagan Nation member Bands.

  • 1919

    Canada enacted the Indian Affairs Settlement Act, giving effect to the report and recommendations of the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission.
  • 1920

    Canada enacted The British Columbia Indian Lands Settlement Act, giving effect to the report and recommendations of the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission.

  • 1938

    Order in Council 1036 was passed which transferred reserve lands in BC to Canada (1919 Indian Affairs Settlement Act and 1920 The British Columbia Indian Lands Settlement Act) for the use and benefit of Indians. Attached to the Order was a Schedule of maps of the Indian reserves that were transferred. Certain reserve lands were cut off from this Schedule and some reserve lands were excluded entirely from the Schedule.
  • 1951

    In 1927 Parliament amended the Indian Act to outlaw receipt of money by any person from an Indian person for any land claim-related activity. The Indian Act was amended to allow Indian people (status Indians) to have legal representation and political organizations to pursue the outstanding land question in BC.

  • 1952

    Chief and Councilors of the Okanagan Indian Band issued a statement, witnessed by R.H.S. Sampson, Superintendent for the Okanagan Indian Agency, consenting to the amalgamation of the Arrow Lake Band with the Okanagan Indian Band (Oatscott Reserve).

  • 1953

    Annie Joseph, from Arrow Lake Band, issued a witnessed statement consenting to the amalgamation of the Okanagan Indian Band and Arrow Lake Band (Oatscott Reserve).

  • 1953

    Annie Joseph died on October 1, 1953.

  • 1969

    White Paper Policy — Canada seeks to repeal Indian Act, dissolve Indian Reserve system and forcefully assimilate Native peoples into mainstream Canadian society.

  • 1974

    Department of Indian Affairs Central District Office located in Vernon occupied by local member Bands to express dissatisfaction of delivery of services which resulted in closure of the office in 1975 and relocation of the office to the INAC Regional office in Vancouver.

  • 1980

    Okanagan Tribal Council office was established in Penticton.

  • 1987

    Okanagan Nation Declaration signed at Komasket Park at Head of the Lake.

  • 1995

    The Okanagan Nation Fisheries Commission (ONFC) was formed to begin discussions regarding the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy of DFO. Negotiations proceed amongst Syilx Okanagan Nation member Bands. Also established was the Okanagan Inter-Tribal Natural Resource Committee (OINRC) to address land-based issues on Syilx territory.

  • 1996

    The Okanagan Tribal Council was reorganized. Constitution and Bylaws signed by the Chiefs’ Executive Committee.

  • 1997

    Okanagan Nation Alliance Society was incorporated under the Society Act of B.C.

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  • 2000

    ONA organizes first canoe and horseback Unity Trek throughout Syilx Okanagan traditional territory (first year was from Pillar Lake, north of Vernon to Brewster Washington).
  • 2001

    The acquisition of the Spotted Lake property was successfully negotiated by the ONA Chiefs Executive Council and completed for the use and benefit of the Syilx people.

  • 2003

    ONA staff and CEC held an Organizational Review Strategic/Planning session at Head of the Lake Hall.

  • 2003

    Pilot year for Re-introduction of Sockeye Salmon Monitoring Program (Skaha Lake).
  • 2003

    John Hall and Roger Hall, members from the Osoyoos Indian Band, were charged for shooting an elk near Castlegar (Goose Creek).

  • 2003

    Responding to legislative and legal changes related to forestry and natural resources, the Syilx Okanagan Nation hosted a Provincial conference “Building Land and Resource Alliances Among First Nations” on September 11-12, 2003, to develop a communication network among First Nations to share resources and strategies and to collectively work on how to best strengthen our position on Aboriginal rights and title.

  • 2003

    Chiefs Executive Council has a Strategic Planning Session at the Manteo Resort in Kelowna.

  • 2003

    The Chiefs Executive Council passed Tribal Council resolution No. 015 mandating the formation of the Okanagan Nation Development Corporation (ONDC).

  • 2004

    Year 1 of 12 of the Sockeye Reintroduction Program.

  • 2004

    Syilx Okanagan members participated in the “Title and Rights Alliance” march on the BC legislature.

  • 2004

    ONA administers the Canadian Okanagan Basin Technical Working Group (COBTWG) multi-year Sockeye mitigation agreement with Douglas PUD – Fish Water Management Tools project evaluation phase.

  • 2005

    Syilx members conducted hunting and gathering in Okanagan territory, Arrow Lakes.

  • 2005

    Westbank First Nation and ONA co-host the First Ministers meeting in Kelowna which resulted in the Kelowna Accord and the signing of BC Transformative Change Accord.

  • 2005

    Multi-Year agreement with Chelan PUD (to 2010) on Sockeye Reintroduction into Skaha Lake.

  • 2005

    Syilx Okanagan Nation hosted a Welcome Ceremony at University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) to welcome the newly established University of British Columbia and the new Okanagan College to Syilx territory.

  • 2006

    Successful ONA intervention in Métis hunting case
    (R. v. Willison).

  • 2006

    Syilx members conducted third annual hunting and gathering throughout Syilx territory.

  • 2006

    ONA Chiefs and Council in Assembly at Nk’mip supported the Nanaimo Unity Protocol.

  • 2006

    8 year operational agreement between ONA and Douglas County PUD is signed for a Fish Water Management Tools project.

  • 2006

    A multi-Year agreement is signed with Grant PUD (to 2017) for a Sockeye Reintroduction Project experimental plan (Skaha Lake).

  • 2007

    BC dropped charges against John Hall and Roger Hall, who were charged in 2003 for shooting an elk near Castlegar.

  • 2007

    Syilx Chiefs endorsed the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People.

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