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UBC Okanagan panel examines history shared by Syilx and settlers to the Okanagan Valley

Panelist Jordon Coble is from the Snc?wips Heritage Museum in West Kelowna.
Image Credit: Contributed/UBC Okanagan
January 22, 2016 - 7:00 AM


KELOWNA - Ask the average person in Kelowna about the history of the area and if they know anything at all, they will likely mutter something about Father Pandosy, the Oblate missionary who first came through these parts about 150 years ago.

Ask a Westbank First Nation band elder and you will get an entirely different answer over a much longer timeframe, perhaps dating back thousands of years. Yet colonial history prevails with indigenous people usually pushed to the fringes, if they are acknowledged at all.

Those gaps in history have been put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as one of the sources of ignorance and racism that made the residential school system possible.

It recommends education by non-indigeneous cultural institutions such as schools and museums as a way to fill those gaps.

The UBCO AlterKnowledge lectures series is presenting a panel disussion entitled Okanagan Relations: Culture, Heritage and the Relationship Between Indigneous and Non-Indigenous Peoples.

It includes Culyer Page and Amanda Snyder, representatives of the Kelowna Museum, Jordan Coble from the Snc?wips Heritage Museum in West Kelowna, Roxanne Lindley, a Westbank First Nation representing the Syilx people as a "cultural ambassador” and Sharron Simpson, author of the Kelowna Story.

“We want to get people thinking about the history of the Okanagan while taking into account historical perspectives that predate our own,” explains organizer Allison Hargreaves, of the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. “There’s a lot of misunderstanding and misinterpretation of our shared history. We’re attempting to respond to the recommendations of the commission."

The AlterKnowledge series has been going for a couple of years, usually every month at the Alternator Gallery in downtown Kelowna, but Hargreaves says they expect wider interest in the subject and have booked the larger Laurel Packinghouse instead.

“I think there really is a thirst to have this broader conversation about the commission’s recommendations,” she adds.

Admission is free for Okanagan Relations: Culture, Heritage and the Relationship Between Indigneous and Non-Indigenous Peoples, which goes at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27 at the Laurel Packinghouse, 1304 Ellis St. in downtown Kelowna.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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