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Okanagan Nation Hosts Senator Murray Sinclair for Discussion on Resiliency Strategies in Face of Indian Residential School Experience

July 4th, 2018

snpíntktn (Penticton), Syilx Territory: On July 3, 2018, the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) hosted the ‘Syilx Resiliency: A Day of Discussion on Healing’ Forum. This gathering is as part of the ongoing commitment of the ONA’s Chiefs Executive Council to support and honor the Syilx Indian Residential School (SIRS) Committee, as well as further dialogue and action in regards to Syilx peoples resiliency in the face of the Indian Residential School experience. This event is demonstrative of how the tenacity of Syilx peoples calls upon the need to make more people aware of the IRS history.

A number of topics were discussed including the development of a Syilx Indian Residential School Healing Strategy, Reconciliation with Our Allies, and personal strategies on healing and wellness. Senator Murray Sinclair was the keynote speaker, and is an indigenous lawyer and politician who served as Chairman of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 2009 to 2015.

Senator Murray Sinclair stated that “We need to find a way to tell these stories and cause no further harm. Survivors must realize that it’s not only about us, it’s about our children.”

It is important to recognize that long before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Syilx Indian Residential school survivors determination brought us to this day. They were committed to rebuilding their family systems, lobbying governments for redress of this dark era in Canadian history and were always guiding and advocating for healing strategies for the people. The current Syilx Indian Residential School Committee provided the direction to keep this work moving forward, they wanted Senator Murray Sinclair to come and speak to the Nation, they wanted discussed how Syilx Allies can walk with us in reconciliation between all people. However, most importantly it is a forum to create further awareness and a reminder to everyone how resilient Syilx Peoples truly are and how we can take care of one another and those who are experiencing hurt and trauma attributed to our people’s colonization and specifically intergenerational impacts of Indian Residential Schools. Eric Mitchell, Syilx Indian Residential School survivor further stated that: “For our Nation this is a very important kind of gathering that needs to happen more and more. In terms of learning to heal ourselves and heal our families and ultimately our Nation.”

This work will continue to move forward with a forthcoming publication of the Syilx Indian Residential School experience. The launch of this publication will take place at the ONA Annual General Assembly, on July 17, 2018.


The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) was formed in 1981 as the inaugural First Nations government in the Okanagan, which represents the 8 member communities of the Okanagan Nation.

For further information please contact:

Jennifer Lewis, Wellness Manager, ONA

T: 1-250-707-0095 ext. 151 C: 1-250-826-7844 E:

MEDIA RELEASE- Syilx Resiliency