Syilx cultural champion earns highest provincial honour | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Syilx cultural champion earns highest provincial honour

Brenda Baptiste of Osoyoos is to be appointed to the Order of British Columbia for her work in Silyx cultural tourism.
Image Credit: Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association
August 03, 2021 - 4:30 PM

An Osoyoos woman has been given the Order of British Columbia, the province’s highest form of recognition, for years of preserving Syilx culture through Indigenous cultural tourism.

Brenda Baptiste is one of 16 British Columbians receiving the honour this year.

In her biography, it says she has been instrumental in coordinating the planning and development of Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos, which was first established in 2003. The centre is now in phase two of an expansion, for which Baptiste is guiding the Indigenous story. The centre was established to celebrate Syilx culture and life in the desert context.

Baptiste also sits as Chair on the board for Indigenous Tourism BC. She has worked in collaboration with a team to develop a blueprint for the growth of Indigenous cultural tourism in B.C., the first of its kind in Canada. She has helped to create relationships with the government and tourism industry partners.

During the 2010 Olympics, Baptiste was the director of the Aboriginal Business Showcase for the Four Host Nations, a venue that hosted over 500 Indigenous cultural businesses and artisans from across the country. The idea was to raise awareness of the diversity of Indigenous cultures in Canada.

Baptiste has coordinated a holistic cultural program for Indigenous inmates at the Okanagan Correction Center, implementing cultural events to build native pride and providing inmates access to Syilx cultural programming such as drumming and crafts.

The Order of British Columbia recognizes those who have served with the greatest distinction and excelled in any field of endeavour to benefiting the people of British Columbia and beyond.

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