New statue in Waterfront Park will honour Westbank First Nation chief - InfoNews

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New statue in Waterfront Park will honour Westbank First Nation chief

Westbank First Nation office.
June 18, 2019 - 4:15 PM

KELOWNA - An unsung hero from the early days of settler-Native history in the Okanagan will get his time in the sun this week.

Westbank First Nation, along with the City of Kelowna, will unveil a statue dedicated to Chief Charlie swkncut at Waterfront Park on June 21 as part of National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Jacquie Biblow, communications and engagement officer with Westbank First Nation, said swkncut was a pivotal figure during the settlement and expansion of the Kelowna and Okanagan areas in the mid-1850s. swkncut was a village chief in the Mission Creek area around the same time Father Pandosy worked in the region.

Biblow said swkncut was a key line of communication between Native people and the European settlers. Biblow said swkncut emphasized peacekeeping and negotiations between the two groups.

"His name translates to 'he who sees oneself,'" she said.

The statue dedicated to swkncut was first commissioned in 2013.

Biblow said swkncut's full history and impact will be discussed during the statue unveiling on June 21, which kicks off at 1:30 p.m.

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