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Ceremonies Integral to Returning Salmon to the Columbia Region

June 15th, 2017

Westbank, BC Syilx Okanagan Territory: From June 15-20th, 2017, a series of five Salmon Ceremonies will take place throughout the Columbia Basin. These Salmon Ceremonies empower Syilx Okanagan people throughout the Territory, providing the opportunity to both honor their ancestors and continue to conduct ceremony for the successful return of the salmon. All locations are historical fishing and harvesting sites of the Syilx Okanagan people from time immemorial.

June 15, 2017 snqʼəqʼulaʔxntn (Kettle Falls) Salmon Ceremony & Canoe Journey

June 16, 2017 sɬuxʷqaynm (Castlegar) Salmon Ceremony

June 17, 2017 skx̌ykntn (Revelstoke) Salmon Ceremony

June 19, 2017 nʕaylintn (McIntyre Dam) Salmon Ceremony & Chinook Fry Release

Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) and the Inchelium Language House Association (ILHA) have joined in partnership over the years to host these ceremonies that will start at snqʼəqʼulaʔxntn (Kettle Falls, WA) and will include a canoe paddle. This will be followed by a second ceremony taking place the next day at sɬuxʷqaynm (Millenum Park, Castlegar, BC). Both these days start by gathering along the banks of the river to pray for the return of the salmon which will then be followed by a lunch and a giveaway.

In addition, during the ceremony at nʕaylintn (McIntyre Dam) there will be a ceremonial release of 15,000 Okanagan chinook Columbia Okanagan Sub- Basin. Such ceremonies and releases contribute to kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ (to cause to come back) and are central to Syilx communities food security. Our people are committed to support the efforts of our people for the return of Salmon to the Upper Columbia Basin.

“Partnerships and Tribal collaboration are at the heart of this work. The ONA, along with Colville Confederated Tribes (CCT), have worked for years in order to re-introduce sc’win (sockeye salmon) into the Okanagan natural habitat. These Tribal partnerships continue on many fronts, such as the Chinook restoration plan amongst other initiatives to ensure all our species and habitats are restored and protected. These are our sacred responsibilities entrusted to us by our Creator. Therefore, our People are very excited to finally launch our first pilot year of releasing summer chinook fry into the Columbia Basin system,” affirmed Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Chairman, and ONA.

For more information please contact:

Howie Wright, ONA Fisheries Manager E:  T: 1-250-728-5215