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 in the Northern Pike Bounty Program. Receive entrance to a $200 Canadian Tire gift certificate reward for every Northern Pike submitted. Prizes of $100 and $50 are also available.

HOW TO SUBMIT?

Participation in this program will require catch information including the Date, Photo with Location (nearest known landmark), alongside the submitted Head, Length and Weight (optional) to the Castlegar office.

DROP-OFF LOCATION:

Castlegar Okanagan Nation Alliance Office
Open: 8am-4pm Mon-Fri
Address: 875 Columbia Ave. Castlegar, BC
Phone: 250 707 0095

For more information, contact:

Ross Zeleznik, Northern Pike Bounty Program Coordinator Okanagan Nation Alliance, Castlegar Office Phone: 250-687-0340 Email: rzeleznik@syilx.org

Pike Incentive Poster


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 that we will be able to collaborate and move forward to restore grizzly bear populations to this transboundary ecosystem together. We acknowledge the work of the US Department of Interior, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US National Park Service to launch a public review of this statement which outlines the options for restoration.

kiɁlawnaɁ has been an integral part of Syilx culture and an important indicator of the health and well-being of the land and Syilx people, since time immemorial. “Only within the last 150 years have kiɁlawnaɁ been absent from the North Cascades landscape- a result of persecution and overhunting by settlers. Much like our people, the tmixʷ (all living things) are resilient. The kiɁlawnaɁ, is a part of who we are, our nation has worked tirelessly to restore salmon, and now we continue the journey to bring kiɁlawnaɁ home to the North Cascades,” stated Chief Clarence Louie, Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) Tribal Chairman.

In 2014, the Syilx Nation declared kiɁlawnaɁ protected across Syilx Territory, and mandated the ONA to take action to restore and protect endangered populations, including the North Cascades. ONA has since led recovery and stewardship planning efforts, in partnership with neighbouring Nations, the BC Ministries of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship and Forests, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and supporting ENGOs. Just as the Syilx Okanagan Territory is transboundary, the North Cascades is a transboundary population and thus requires coordinated efforts on both sides of the Canada-US border. In the fall of 2022, the Syilx Okanagan Nation called on the US Government to relaunch the recovery planning efforts in the US portion of the North Cascades. It is with great pleasure that we learn of this relaunch of the EIS, and re-confirm our commitment to bringing kiɁlawnaɁ  home to the North Cascades.

Syilx Nation Natural Resources Chair, Jordan Coble also added, “The announcement of the EIS review process in the US marks an important moment in time for recovery efforts on both sides of the border. Many decades of work, by many committed people have led us to where we are now. From the Syilx Nation’s perspective, our partnership with BC on this work is a demonstration of implementing DRIPA in its’ purest form- we are collectively righting a wrong, and returning kiɁlawnaɁ to an ecosystem that depends on their presence.”

We look forward to continued work with our many BC and US partners to restore and protect grizzly bears in the North Cascades. Through the Joint Nations Grizzly Bear Initiative we continue to advance work towards restoration of the North Cascades population in many ways, including the development of a Stewardship Strategy which contains the necessary steps to advance recovery, as per the BC Auditor General’s 2017 recommendations and referenced in BC’s Provincial grizzly bear strategy.

The ONA is committed to conserve, manage, co-manage the wildlife, lands and waters of the Nation’s territory. In doing so, the Nation will be true to its spiritual and environmental values, mindful of the cultural and social needs and aspirations of its individual bands, and strong in its assertion of the Nation’s rights and title to its entire area of occupancy and use.

For more information please contact:
ki law na (Chief Clarence Louie), ONA Tribal Chair                    Cailyn Glasser, ONA Natural Resource Manager
T:  1-250-498-9132                                                                          T: 1-250-469-1595

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


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 to make them happen!
Thank you to EMB who sponsored two of the awards and Hi Traxx Contracting and Lance McLean who together sponsored the third award.

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, Steelhead, etc). This expansion ONA’s Pit Detection Network will monitor the reintroduction of Sockeye to Okanagan Lake. The installation consists of two fishway antennas and one instream array.

  • PIT arrays are submerged antennas fastened to the river bottom, which span the width of river
  • Fish swim over the antennas as they migrate; fish containing PIT tags are scanned by the antennas
  • Several thousand fish are tagged annually, within the Okanagan and throughout the northwest USA
  • Release and detection data is uploaded to online PTAGIS database, enabling the migration and life history of individual fish to be tracked
  • ONA tags approximately 10,000 Sockeye smolts annually, in addition to 500+ Steelhead/Rainbow trout, and occasionally ONA hatchery raised Chinook salmon
  • Tagging and the PIT array network potentially enables fish to be tracked from their stream/lake of origin to the Pacific Ocean and back, and can help answer questions on run timing, life history, and population
  • A Qualified Environmental Professional will always be on-site during the project and every effort is taken to ensure there is little disturbance to the habitat, environment and water quality.

WORKS: The installation consists of two fishway antennas and one instream array. Works will consist of the installation of a pit array across the 30m width of Okanagan River, 70m downstream from Okanagan Lake/Penticton Dam in Penticton, BC. The design will consist of four (4) – 1m x 6m x 15cm diameter and two (2) – 1m x 6m x 15cm diameter HDPE antennas. Each antenna will be anchored with duckbill anchors attached to cam straps. Installation will require minor displacement of local streambed materials to install the antennas flush with the existing riverbed. A trench will be dug next to the walking trail for electrical conduit.

PROJECT TEAM: All work will be conducted by ONA fisheries biologists and technicians, along with Biomark, who manufactured the technology, provides technical support and will be on-site to oversee installation

Project Manager/Field Lead: Carley Simpson, ONA Fisheries Biologist
Email: csimpson@syilx.org Phone: 250-707-0095 ext: 311 (contact for questions)
Field Staff: ONA: Seth Kruger, Dave Tom, Isaac Jack; Biomark Staff: Gaelan Flaherty, Peter Mackinnon

PROJECT PARTNERS/FUNDERS:
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Grant Public Utility District, and Chelan Public Utility District

2023 FAQ – Okanagan Dam PIT Array


Historic Electricity Purchase Agreement Signed with BC Hydro to Fulfil 2011 Commitment in ILM Final Agreement

June 26th, 2023

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) and Upper Nicola Band (UNB) are proud to announce the signing of an Electricity Purchase Agreement (EPA) with BC Hydro. Under the terms of the EPA, the UNB and ONA have jointly developed a groundbreaking 15MWac solar project located on Upper Nicola Band’s Nicola Lake IR No.1, situated 30km northeast of Merritt and in close proximity to the BC Hydro Nicola substation.

The Syilx Okanagan Nation’s traditional territories and in particular the lands of Upper Nicola Band is an energy corridor in British Columbia. For this reason, the Syilx Okanagan leadership has committed to create opportunities for Syilx communities to develop and own energy projects that benefit members. This landmark agreement is a significant step towards the development of future sustainable energy projects on Syilx Okanagan territory. The EPA was committed to under the Interior Lower Mainland Final Agreement, which was reached between UNB, ONA and BCH in 2011.

This solar project will interconnect to the BC Hydro distribution system, further bolstering the region’s renewable energy capacity. It is set to be the largest, over 100 acres, solar plant in British Columbia, showcasing the commitment of both the ONA and UNB to sustainable energy development. This ambitious endeavor will not only contribute to the province’s cleaner energy goals but also generate economic opportunities and job creation for local communities.

Chief Dan Manuel, Upper Nicola Band, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “We are excited to bring this historic solar project into reality after many years of project development and negotiation with BC Hydro. It is a testament to our shared commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development. Together, we are paving the way for a greener future while creating economic benefits for our people. As we move toward net-zero emissions globally it is projects like this that set the foundation for meaningful participation of indigenous communities”

“The signing of this Electricity Purchase Agreement marks a significant milestone for the Syilx Okanagan Nation. We are proud to be at the forefront of renewable energy initiatives, and this solar project exemplifies our dedication to self-sufficiency and the well-being of all Syilx communities,” Chief Clarence Louie, ONA Tribal Chair, stated.

“The signing of this Electricity Purchase Agreement is a testament to the continued vision, collaboration, and perseverance of Syilx Okanagan leadership. As a momentous endeavor, this signing illustrates how Syilx leaders are committed to the principles of sustainability, economic development, and the empowerment for Syilx Okanagan people throughout the territory,” Chief Robert Louie, Westbank First Nation, added.

~

ONA is one of 81 known Tribal Councils in Canada that currently operates within the parameters of the 1984 Cabinet approved policy that established the principles and the conditions for funding Tribal Councils. The ONA mandate is to work collectively to advance and assert Syilx Okanagan Nation Title and Rights over the Syilx Okanagan Nation Territory.

For more information, please contact:

Chief Daniel Manuel, Upper Nicola Band

T: 250-378-1986

Chief Clarence Louie, ONA Tribal Chair

T: 250-498-9132

Chief Robert Louie, CEC, Energy Executive Chair

T: 250-300-9899

Tara Montgomery, ONA Communications Lead

T: 250-862-6866
E: TMontgomery@syilx.org

Media Release


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 of Canada’s share of downstream power benefits under the treaty, otherwise known as the Canadian Entitlement. The proposed interim agreements will share this revenue over four years.

“This interim agreement is significant for us,” said Kathryn Teneese, Chair of Ktunaxa Nation Council. “It’s an acknowledgment of impacts to Ktunaxa rights and title, and is one step on the path of reconciliation. Ktunaxa Nation Council, on behalf of our four member First Nations, will continue our broader collaborative work on Columbia River Treaty renewal with the other partners in this agreement. Ktunaxa perspectives are vital to this treaty process, and we value being at the table with the other Indigenous Nations, along with British Columbia and Canada.”

ki law na Chief Clarence Louie, Okanagan Nation Alliance Tribal Chair, said: “This Interim Revenue Sharing Agreement is a historic first step for our government-to-government relationship. For far too long, we have been excluded from decisions that directly impact the Syilx Nation. These previous decisions lacked any form of consent and often left us with only devastating impacts. With this announcement, the provincial government has demonstrated a level of integrity to finally do the right thing. In part, this is the result of continued efforts by the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s Chief Executive Council, who have asserted the need to be involved in establishing a new Columbia River Treaty. Alongside our First Nation neighbours in the Columbia River watershed — the Secwépemc Nation and Ktunaxa Nation — we are beginning a long journey of righting the historical wrongs of the past injustices with the Crown on decision-making, revenue sharing, ecosystems and Indigenous cultural values. This is only the beginning, yet we remain confident that the principles of collaboration and partnership central to these government relations will continue to create the change we all desire for our lands and waterways.”

Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir, Tribal Chief, Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, said: “On behalf of the Secwépemc Nation, I am pleased to confirm a shared commitment resulting from the continued negotiations concerning the ongoing environmental and cultural impacts from the Columbia River Treaty. The negotiations thus far resulted in Interim Revenue Sharing Agreements between the Secwépemc, Syilx Okanagan and Ktunaxa Nations and the Province of British Columbia. These agreements represent the first time that the three Indigenous Nations within British Columbia are receiving benefits from the Columbia River Treaty dams. The dams have caused devastation to our lands and resources, and continue to impact our title and rights. We share a commitment to reconciliation while upholding the foundation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We look forward to our continued engagement, shared decision-making and co-operation as we move forward together in a way that we can all be proud of.”

The treaty was ratified in 1964 by the U.S. and Canada to provide flood control and generate additional hydro power, but was negotiated without considering the impacts it would have on the rights, culture, economies and ways of life of the Indigenous Nations. For decades, the Ktunaxa, Secwepemc and Syilx Okanagan Nations and their members have been severely affected by the construction of treaty dams and reservoirs, changes to river flows, ecosystem and cultural losses, and the related impacts to their economies. Negotiations will continue with the Secwépemc, Syilx Okanagan and Ktunaxa Nations for a long-term agreement to help address environmental, cultural and economic impacts caused by the operations of the Columbia River Treaty.

“When the Columbia River Treaty was developed, governments didn’t consult or co-operate with First Nations or any Columbia Basin residents – the very people whose lives, livelihoods and cultures would be affected for decades,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the Columbia River Treaty. “Since 2018, Indigenous Nations with territory in the Columbia Basin have worked closely with Canada and B.C. to negotiate a modernized treaty with the U.S.; today, they are at last sharing in the benefits the treaty brings.”

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, said: “The announcement today reflects our government’s action toward building relationships with First Nations that recognize, respect and support their right to self-determination. These agreements ensure Nations benefit from Columbia River Treaty revenues and support a new way of seeking First Nations’ free, prior and informed consent on a modernized Columbia River Treaty.”

Since 2018, Canada and the United States have been engaged in negotiations to modernize the treaty. The Ktunaxa, Secwépemc and Syilx Okanagan Nations have been an essential part of the Canadian negotiating team, alongside the governments of Canada and B.C.

The Nations have also led efforts to enhance ecosystem function and investigate the feasibility of restoring salmon to the B.C. portion of the Columbia Basin through the treaty-modernization negotiations.

Quick Facts:

  • The Columbia River Treaty is a trans-boundary water management agreement between Canada and the United States, ratified in 1964, that vastly reduces the risk of floods and provides clean energy to millions of households in British Columbia and the United States.
  • Revenue from the treaty goes to the Provincial Consolidated Revenue Fund and has contributed to funding of government functions, such as health care, education and infrastructure.
  • The treaty dams and reservoirs flooded 110,000 hectares (270,000 acres) of Canadian ecosystems, displaced more than 2,000 residents, as well as First Nations, communities and infrastructure, and affected farms, tourism and forestry activities.
  • Since May 2018, negotiators for Canada (including B.C.) and the United States have been meeting to discuss what a modernized version of the Columbia River Treaty could look like.
  • During that time, representatives of the Ktunaxa, Secwépemc and Syilx Okanagan Nations have worked hand in hand with the governments of Canada and B.C. to develop and refine negotiating positions, strategies and proposals.

Learn More:

To learn more about the Columbia River Treaty, visit:
https://engage.gov.bc.ca/columbiarivertreaty/

To keep up with the latest Columbia River Treaty news, sign up for the newsletter at: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/columbiarivertreaty/sign-up/
or follow the CRT on Facebook (@ColumbiaRiverTreaty) or Twitter (@CRTreaty).

To share views on the treaty, email: columbiarivertreaty@gov.bc.ca
or write to:
Columbia River Treaty Team
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
PO Box 9314 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9N1


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 back into the traditional water ways of sc’win. This will include the importance of the sc’win imprint 300,000 sc’win fry at Head-of-the-Lake, including Lower Vernon Creek. The ONA Fisheries Department works in collaboration with the Okanagan Nation member communities including Okanagan Indian Band and other organizations to reintroduction of sc’win to their once natural run. These are part of the nearly four million fry that will be released by ONA in the Okanagan sub-basin during the 2023 season.

Where: Marshall Field Dog Park, 6891 Okanagan Landing Road, Vernon, BC

When: 10:00 am, May 9, 2023

Why: Due to a large run in 2022 the ONA will be undertaking this year one of the largest sockeye fry releases. We are excited to release roughly 4.9 million sockeye fry in the territory with four million of the total into tributaries that feed into kłusxnitkw (Okanagan Lake). Out of those four million almost two million will be released in Mission Creek. This year we have reached a huge goal of our kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ sockeye reintroduction initiative and will be releasing for the first time at Lower Vernon Creek. In addition to the releases in the Okanagan Basin, we will be releasing fry into the Columbia River.
These releases in the coming season are based on decades of sustained, successful effort by the Nation to re-establish sc’win populations on the territory, which contribute to both food security and cultural revitalization for Syilx people. For decades ONA has worked towards achieving salmon passage back to kłusxnitkw. Bringing salmon back to the far reaches of kłusxnitkw is a milestone of this work. The importance of returning sc’win to kłusxnitkw is heightened due to the cooler waters of the lake, that provide the species a haven in the face of climate change and warming waters, which can prevent salmon from returning and laying their eggs.

“Bringing sc’win back to creeks and streams on kłusxnitkw, like Lower Vernon Creek, are a direct result of Syilx advocacy, Self-determination, and assertion of our Syilx collective responsibilities to govern, manage and stewards our lands and resources. The success of this work is directly connected to our ability to collaborate with a variety of partners and can be seen in the historic returns of sc’win to the Columbia watershed this last year,” Chief Byron Louis (OKIB) stated.
~
The kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ Hatchery is a testament to the perseverance of the Syilx people to realize their dream of restoring the n’titxw (Salmon) – one of our Four Food Chiefs – to their original habitat and rightful place in our territory.

Opened in 2014, the 25,000 square foot hatchery has the capacity to rear 8 million eggs. It is currently equipped to handle all fish culture aspects required for 5 million eggs from brood stock management until fry release.

For more information please contact:
Chief Clarence Louie, ONA Tribal Chair
T: 250-498-9132

Chad Fuller, ONA Fisheries Manager
T: 250-707-0095 ext. 104

Media Advisory Lower Vernon Creek Release


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 Email: rzeleznik@syilx.org

Northern Pike prey on native and important game species, introduce parasites and disease, and compete with other species for food resources. Help keep their numbers low by participating in the Northern Pike Bounty Program and receive entrance to a $200 Canadian Tire gift certificate reward for every Northern Pike submitted. Participation in this program will require catch information including the date and location (nearest known landmark) alongside a photo of the catch and the submitted head only to participating locations.

For More Info: Northern Pike Suppression


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 site, a women’s sweat will be held on Wednesday night (April 12) and men’s sweat on Thursday night (April 13) starting at 6:30 pm at 5444 Hawthorne Place, OK Falls.

For more info: OIB Historic Reserve Celebration


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 have also been identified as compounding factors to their decline.

To learn more about the diseases affecting our yilíkʷlxkn: yilíkʷlxkn (Bighorn Sheep) Diseases

Help Us Continue Monitoring: 

  1. Collared bighorn ewes with lambs at heel: Any photos of collared ewes/lambs and any identifiers such as number tags, location, and time.
  2. Coughing or sick mountain goats and yilíkʷlxkn: Clinical signs of sick sheep may include coughing, runny nose, laboured breathing, and lethargic behaviour.
  3. Crusty, scabs or poor coat condition animals: Any sick-appearing mountain goats, yilíkʷlxkn, feral horses, rabbits, or hares should be immediately reported.

Please send in all sightings you think may be important to:
Mackenzie Clarke, tmixʷ Biologist
mclarke@syilx.org or 250-681-0131


Artist Showcase: Csetkwe Fortier

August 30th, 2021

Purple Ribbon Campaign 
The Purple Ribbon Campaign is an annual campaign to raise awareness leading up to International Opioid Overdose Awareness Day on August 31.  The campaign focuses on sharing resources, promoting discussion, and offering information related to the drug and opioid crisis and is a response to the urgent need to address the stigma that surrounds drug use.  Through raising awareness, the campaign supports healing and creating change within our communities and our Nation. Okanagan Nation Alliance aims to reduce overdose by promoting harm reduction and safe spaces to talk about mental health & addiction, reducing stigma and shame, raising awareness, and supporting healing.

Community Fishing Notice: Mable Lake and Middle Shuswap River

August 4th, 2021

Fraser River Chinook are available for harvest in Mable Lake and at Shuswap Falls.

The salmon fishery is open to members of the: Lower Similkameen Indian Band, Okanagan Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian band, Penticton Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Upper Similkameen Indian Band and the Westbank First Nation.

This year the ONA fisheries department expects a low number of fish to return to the Middle Shuswap River. A small FSC fishery for Nation members will be open. The fishery is anticipated to start beginning of August and end mid-September.

Information needed to assist with the management of the fishery:

After you go out fishing please contact Howie Wright, ONA (hwright@syilx.org) to let him know the following regarding your fishing trip:

Date(s) fished, start and end time of fishing, number of lines in the water, gear used*, fish kept, fish lost, other fish kept/lost, additional information you want to share, number of people in your party

*NOTE: Snagging is not recommended

FSC Fishery_Chinook Notice_2021_updated


Okanagan River Salmonid Sampling Near You

May 27th, 2021

snpintktn (Penticton), Syilx Okanagan Territory:   Okanagan Nation Alliance Fisheries biologists will be out sampling juvenile salmonids in the Okanagan River off-channel habitats between now and the end of this June. You’ll likely spot biologists in oxbows, side channels, floodplains, and other off-channel habitat along the main river between Okanagan and Osoyoos Lakes. Biologists will be setting live capture-release fish traps, deployed during dawn to dusk, left over night, and retrieved the following day.

Off-channel habitats are aquatic areas connected to mainstream rivers for all or part of the year. These habitats are critical to the long-term survival of salmon populations. Okanagan River channelization and floodplain development have destroyed, fragmented, or significantly degraded these off-channel areas, greatly contributing to the decline of resident and ocean-going fish species. This work ultimately supports the Syilx Okanagan Nation’s efforts to restore the Okanagan River system, best summarized by the late Chief Albert Saddleman, to put back the river, bring back the fish, and put back the people.

This project is funded by the federal Indigenous Habitat Participation Program, with the support of Penticton Indian Band and Osoyoos Indian Band. The ONA is thankful for the ongoing support of Okanagan residents.

For More Information Contact:

Elinor McGrath, ONA Fisheries Biologist

Email: emcgrath@syilx.org

Phone: (250) 707-0095 ext. 102

Press Release – Spring Salmon Sampling May 27 2021


Congratulations y̓ilmixʷm ki law na Chief Clarence Louie on being named as an Honorary Degree recipient from the University of British Columbia

March 31st, 2021

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Okanagan Territory: It is our Syilx tradition to celebrate the achievements of our people and we would like to celebrate the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) recognition of y̓ilmixʷm ki law na, Clarence Louie, as one of UBC’s 2021 Honorary Degree recipients. Today, we acknowledge and honor ki law na for this extraordinary achievement and recognition of his contribution to the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Syilx Okanagan Nation.

UBC’s recognition stated, “Since his election in December of 1984 as Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band of the Okanagan Nation, Clarence Joseph Louie has consistently emphasized economic development as a means to improve his people’s standard of living. Under his direction, the Band has become a multi‐faceted corporation that owns and manages eleven businesses and five joint ventures, employing approximately one thousand people. At the same time, he has consistently demonstrated his belief that First Nations leaders have a responsibility to incorporate First Nations language and culture in all socio‐economic initiatives as a means to preserve Indigenous heritage.”

Chief Louie has received numerous recognitions and awards including a number of aboriginal business awards over the years. In 2006 he was awarded the Order of British Columbia, in 2017, was named to the Order of Canada and in 2019 he was the first Indigenous inductee into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.
On behalf of the Syilx Okanagan people, we want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to

ki law na, for his years of leadership and commitment to economic development and serving his community and Syilx Okanagan Nation for over 34 years.

Lim’ Limpt.

 

For More Information Contact:
Tara Montgomery, ONA Communications Lead
Email: tmontgomery@syilx.org Phone: (250) 862-6866

Chief Clarence Louie UBC Degree Media Release


Supporting CCT Donations Drive

September 14th, 2020

In response to the ongoing fires on the Colville Reservation, the ONA is collecting donations to support the families affected. These donations will be delivered to them next week. Any contributions are greatly appreciated.

Drop Off Date, Time and Locations:

Westbank – Sept 14-16, 2020 8:30am – 4:30pm at ONA main office

Oliver: Sept 15, 2020 12:30pm – 3:00pm at OIB band office parking lot

Keremeos: Sept 15, 2020 3:30pm – 5:30pm at LSIB band office parking lot

Penticton: Sept 16, 2020 5:00pm – 7:00pm at ONA Wade office

 

See poster for more details and items we are looking for and accepting:

Colville Donations Poster


Congratulations qʷyqʷʕayáx̌n: stim aʔ ckistxʷ What do You do?

August 10th, 2020

The Okanagan Nation Alliance would like to congratulate qʷyqʷʕayáx̌n Levi Bent on his new book “stim aʔ ckistxʷ what do you do?”

If you wish to purchase a copy and support qʷyqʷʕayáx̌n Levi, email nxastatkw Elizabeth Bent at: nxastatkw@gmail.com

” I have been involved in learning and teaching nsyilxcen for over 10 years and am eager to share nsyilxcen language and culture to children and families in a fun and new light. Being a second language learner myself, I am aware of the unique challenges that we deal with in acquiring our language. It is with complete honesty that I wish to use my talents to help bring back the language of our ancestors” – qʷyqʷʕayáx̌n Levi Bent


Update: Access to sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ (OK Falls) fishery

August 6th, 2020

August 4, 2020

In his new role as Syilx Okanagan Nation Tribal Chair, Chief Clarence Louie and his team met with the Assistant Deputy Minister of the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development yesterday afternoon to discuss the access issues at the sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ (OK Falls) fishery.

BC expressed its willingness to work with the Nation to secure safe, unfettered access to the fishery for our members. BC committed to working with the ONA to identify and implement permanent solutions moving forward. Chief Louie, Tribal Chair, and his ONA technical negotiation team will provide further community updates on this important issue as discussions continue with BC.


2020 Recipients of the Building a Better Future Bursary

July 30th, 2020

Each year the Okanagan Nation Alliance and Fortis BC provide two awards of $1200.00 to financially support eligible Syilx/ Okanagan Nation members enrolled or accepted into a recognized university or college on a full-time basis in a minimum 2 year program. Additionally we have received donations from  Hi-Trax, Lance McLean (PIB) and Progressive Fence, thus we were able to offer two additional $1200.00 bursaries.

This year the Okanagan Nation Alliance is pleased to announce four bursaries as part of this years Building a Better Future Bursary Program. The 2020 recipients are:

 

 


OKANAGAN NATION ALLIANCE ELECTS KI’LOWNA CHIEF CLARENCE LOUIE AS TRIBAL CHAIR

July 28th, 2020

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Okanagan Territory: The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is pleased to announce that Chief Clarence Louie of Osoyoos Indian Band has been elected by the ONA Chiefs Executive Committee as Tribal Chair and spokesperson of the ONA. Chief Louie is the longest standing Chief within the Nation and will no doubt provide strong leadership based on his years of experience, knowledge and past service to the Nation.

 

PRESS RELEASE – ONA Announces Chief Clarence Louie as Tribal Chair

 


Mission Creek Restoration Initiative Effectiveness Monitoring, 2016-2019

July 15th, 2020

The Mission Creek Restoration Initiative (MCRI) is a multi-stakeholder partnership formed in 2008 to address declining fish stocks and restore natural function to the lower reaches of Mission Creek, located in Kelowna, BC.

Phase I restoration began in 2015-2016 in a stretch of Mission Creek downstream of Casorso Road, where 540 m of the southern dike trail was setback. This setback resulted in 18,000 m2 floodplain re-engagement and side channel reconnection. In addition, habitat features were installed and four notch pools were excavated in left bank to re-meander the stream. Adaptive management occurred in 2018 to improve side channel flow patterns and remove accumulated sediment. In 2019, boulder clusters in two different formations were installed to direct flow into meander notch 2 and to increase habitat complexity.

Post-construction monitoring of fish habitat and site use has been conducted annually since 2016 to document effectiveness and inform adaptive management.

Read the report here: ONA_MCRI Effectiveness Monitoring 2019 FINAL

ONA is happy to continue working with the MCRI Steering Committee to bring back the health of Mission Creek.  Many thanks to the Steering Committee:

  • BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
  • Central Okanagan Land Trust
  • City of Kelowna
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Friends of Mission Creek
  • Okanagan Nation Alliance
  • Regional District of Central Okanagan
  • Westbank First Nation

The Okanagan Nation Alliance looks forward to continuing to document the successes and challenges of these projects as part of the larger vision of Okanagan Nation Elders in healing the watershed and kł cp̓əlk stim̓ – ’cause to come back’.

 

 

 


2020 Syilx Okanagan Nation Member Graduate Form

May 14th, 2020

Calling all Syilx Okanagan Nation Member 2020 graduates!

If you are graduating or know someone who is graduating please complete the google form: https://forms.gle/gRZW6ey3LiJknQZXA

The Okanagan Nation Alliance would like to recognize and acknowledge all Syilx Okanagan Nation members who are graduating this year. If you are graduating or know someone who is graduating please complete the form.


University of Alberta Salmon Health Research Project 2020

May 4th, 2020

The University of Alberta releases an Article titled Traditional Food, Health, and Diet Quality in Syilx Okanagan Adults in British Columbia, Canada which conducted research within the Okanagan Nation and analyzes health indicators and diet quality among 265 Syilx Okanagan adults. Due to COVID-19 the Research Team could not present to communities directly as previously planned.

This study is a component of the Okanagan Salmon and Our Health Study, which is a joint project between the Okanagan Nation Alliance, University of Alberta, Université de Montréal, and Syilx communities. The objective of the overarching study is to document the health and health equity outcomes of the Syilx Okanagan Nation initiatives that led to the reintroduction of Okanagan sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in the Okanagan River upstream of Osoyoos Lake.

If you are interested in learning more please review the following documents:

Traditional Food Health and Diet Quality in Syilx Okanagan Adults

Diet Quality infographic April 9 2020

 


UPDATE: ONA RESPONSE TO COVID-19

March 18th, 2020

UPDATE: ONA RESPONSE TO COVID-19

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Okanagan Territory: On March 18, 2020, as of today, ONA offices are only open for staff. Over the next few days, ONA staff will be transitioning to working from home as much as possible to mitigate risks and to ensure we do our part in keeping Nation members and partners safe. During this time, we remain committed to fulfilling our responsibilities to our Syilx Okanagan Nation families and communities. We will continue to be available by phone, email, or social media. The following staff may be contacted if you have any questions:

  • Pauline Terbasket, Executive Director – 250-878-6242
  • Jennifer Lewis, Wellness Manager – 250-826-7844
  • Howie Wright, Fisheries Program Manager – 250-718-5215
  • Cailyn Glasser, Natural Resources Operations Biologist – 250-469-1595
  • Carol Roberts, Financial Administrator – 250-707-0095 ext. 207
  • Charlotte Armstrong, Executive Assistant – 250-707-0095 ext. 208
  • Tara Montgomery, Communications Lead – 250-862-6866

ONA, Covid-19 Communiqué

March 16th, 2020

All service recipients and contractors in ONA workplaces are requested to please refrain from in person visits to ONA offices, workplaces and worksites, and to utilize phone calls, conference calls, e-mail or any other form of electronic messaging as means of communication with the ONA, until further notice.

Travel outside of Canada is not advised. Those who do so are required to upon return, self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

If you are in close proximity of others, it is advised to stand or sit two meters (six feet) apart in an attempt to contain the possibility of spread.

Please actively implement recommended prevention measures of spread by: a) Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water b) Use alcohol based hand rubs if a sink is not available c) Do not touch your eyes, face or mouth with unwashed hands d) Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and use a tissue. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow e) Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

  • Stay home if you are sick with any symptoms to contain spread of Covid-19.
  • Self-isolate if other family/household members are self-isolating or are sick with any symptoms.
  • Anyone who is concerned that they may have been exposed to, or is experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, should call: HealthLinkBC at 811 anytime.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has also set up a: Covid-19 telephone information line 1-833-784-4397.


Syilx Solidarity Statement

February 28th, 2020

tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory:     The Syilx Okanagan Nation stands in solidarity with the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en in their meetings with the federal and provincial governments on Wet’suwet’en Territory.

In the wake of provincial legislation applying the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to BC laws and the federal government’s commitment to introduce similar federal legislation, the Wet’suwet’en crisis shines a national light on the on-going issue of Title and Rights recognition in British Columbia. This long-standing issue has remained largely unresolved despite the 1997 Delgamuukw decision where the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that Wet’suwet’en Title and Rights have never been extinguished.

The Syilx Okanagan Nation calls on the provincial and federal governments to work in good faith with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, charting a pathway forward that both respects Wet’suwet’en Title and Rights and full and meaningful implementation of UNDRIP. Aspirational words about reconciliation are not enough. What is required is full respect and recognition of Indigenous laws, governance, and title and rights, not only for the Wet’suwet’en, but for all Indigenous Nations.

Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip, Chair for the Syilx Okanagan Nation has stated that, “Canada and BC must move beyond political mumbling and empty rhetoric and immediately take action to honor the invitation of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.to meet face-to-face. Furthermore the RCMP occupation force must immediately leave Wet’suwet’en Territory and Coastal Gas Link must agree to reroute the pipeline.” He further stated that, “It is time for Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier John Horgan to, ‘walk the walk‘”.

Media Inquiries:

Grand Chief Dr. Stewart Phillip, ONA Chair

T: 250-490-5314


qʷʕay snk̓lip Blue Coyote Book

November 20th, 2019

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.

 


For our people, land and waters – continuing the Nation rebuilding work of our ancestors

September 10th, 2019

At the direction of the Chiefs Executive Council, a Recognition Agreement was negotiated with the federal government to protect and advance our Syilx Nation’s collective Title and Rights. This would require the federal government to make a significant funding commitment to support the Syilx Nation’s work to develop and implement our Syilx Nation governance. Even though the agreement was approved in principle by Cabinet, the federal government has informed our negotiators that it ran out of time to get the necessary Finance approvals needed for this agreement to be signed before the Fall 2019 election. Syilx Nation level and local community discussions on the Recognition Agreement that were scheduled for this August had to be postponed.

Pending the outcome of the federal election, it’s important to keep working together in our Nation to understand the precedent-setting importance of this Recognition agreement for our people today and for our future generations.

At the same time, our Syilx Nation rebuilding and decolonization work continues through the community-led Syilx Nation Rising process. We continue the work of our ancestors to rebuild a unified Syilx Nation government guided by ankc’x̌ʷiplaʔtntət  uɬ  yʕat  iʔ  ks  səctxət̕stim – our laws and responsibilities which we will create and approve together as Syilx Nation members.

Syilx Nation Rising community engagement update