iN PHOTOS: Statue of historic syilx chief unveiled in Kelowna - InfoNews

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iN PHOTOS: Statue of historic syilx chief unveiled in Kelowna

Historic syilx Chief Charlie swkn'cut was immortalized with a statue at the Kelowna Tourism centre, Friday, June 21, 2019.
June 21, 2019 - 3:40 PM

KELOWNA - When Crystal Przybille put the finishing touches to the statue of Chief Charlie swkn'cut, she tied two art projects together to create a greater whole.

Pryzbille, born in Vernon, sculpted the statue of Father Pandosy at 3685 Benvoulin Rd. for the 150 anniversary of the mission. Chief swkn'cut, an elder who lived during the same time as Pandosy, was memorialized in a statue created by Pryzbille and unveiled at the Kelowna waterfront today, June 21.

The artist feels the two monuments compliment and complete each other by acknowledging the histories of settlers and First Nations.

"It's a bigger history," she said. "We need to be aware of that. Visitors will learn about that."

Artist Crystal Przybille and Westbank First Nation Chief Roxanne Lindley are pictured with the statue.
Artist Crystal Przybille and Westbank First Nation Chief Roxanne Lindley are pictured with the statue.

Dozens of people gathered outside the Kelowna Tourism Centre today on the Okanagan Lake waterfront for the statue's grand unveiling. Several dignitaries, including Mayor Colin Basran, were on hand for the big event.

swkn'cut, who lived from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, was a village chief in the Mission Creek area. He was vital in establishing a line of communication between settlers and First Nations, and he always stressed peace keeping efforts. His name translates to "one who sees oneself," according to Westbank First Nation communications and engagement officer Jacquie Biblow.

Westbank First Nation Chief Roxanne Lindley spoke about the project's importance, which was first commissioned in 2012. She said her brother and nephew's likenesses were used during the sculpting process.

"It's a beautiful statue," she said. "Really pleased we get to do this today."

A big crowd came out for the unveiling.
A big crowd came out for the unveiling.

Lindley said the event, which occurred on National Indigenous Peoples Day, offered a chance to evaluate reconciliation and continue forward in the spirit of cooperation.

"Everything is doable," she said.

Przybille hopes more people will take the time to research Canadians' shared history.

"The relationship [between settler and Indigenous cultures] needs to be repaired," she said.


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