Between a scorching, dry, smoky summer time, and a fall that ushered in an enormous quantity of rain, it typically looks like nature has fallen out of stability. This disharmony can have an effect on the whole lot from folks to infrastructure, and it attracts consciousness to the interconnectedness of land and water; how one impacts the opposite, and the way folks could be caught in between.
“The way in which the land depends on that concord, it’s the identical method with folks, too,” says Coralee Miller, assistant manager on the Sncewips Heritage Museum in West Kelowna. “When one thing is hurting in your neighborhood, it type of has that domino impact on everybody else. It actually is not any completely different with regards to the land.”
Coralee Miller conducting a tour at Sncewips Heritage Museum
Miller can also be a member of the syilx/Okanagan Nation. The ‘ilx’ a part of syilx means ‘to weave,’ and Miller sees her relationship with water, land, vegetation, animals, and folks, like one large braid, the place every strand depends on the others to remain full and interconnected. Translating the metaphor into motion, it means we are able to use the earth’s items of water, meals and shelter, however it’s our duty to reciprocate and deal with mom nature in return.
“I absolutely consider that we’re a mirror of nature,” says Miller.
For the syilx/Okanagan, the connection with nature begins with water, the “lifeblood of the territory.” Not solely did they historically depend on water to maintain life, it was traditionally the best way the syilx would journey within the valley—on the lakes and rivers. Water additionally acted as an architect by slicing and shaping the land. Water is drugs, too, says Miller.
Photograph by: Matt Ferguson Pictures
“For us, when our hearts are heavy, we’re instructed to ‘take it to the water.’ There are many completely different ceremonies that revolve across the water,” she says. “So water’s not only a useful resource to us, it’s our heritage.” The land is a part of her heritage, too.
When guests come to Kelowna, they see Okanagan Lake and the encompassing mountains and trails as a trip playground for swimming, boating, mountain climbing and mountain biking. Miller would really like them to step away from that vacationer perspective and attempt to additionally view the valley as somebody’s heritage or somebody’s residence.
This implies being thoughtful of the land and water by taking solely images, respecting fireplace bans, leaving no hint (don’t litter), and staying away from trails when bears or different wildlife are within the space. And when you discover a pictograph, respect it, however hold it a secret.
“We like to have guests,” says Miller. “Even earlier than settlement we valued commerce and interplay and a cultural trade, however there are protocols that should be adopted.”
To study extra concerning the Okanagan Nation, Coralee Miller recommends visiting the next points of interest:
- The Sncewips Heritage Museum in West Kelowna is a dwelling museum that teaches guests about syilx historical past and tradition from an Indigenous perspective.
- The Okanagan Heritage Museum in downtown Kelowna tells the valley’s geological and anthropological historical past from earlier than settlement to trendy occasions.
- The Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos makes use of the panorama exterior the centre, together with indoor shows, to inform the story of the Osoyoos Indian Band, which is a member of the Okanagan Nation.