Okanagan College students Michael Ochoa and Tallin Gregoire, both members of the Okanagan Indian Band, raised the Okanagan Nation Alliance flag on July 16 outside the Vernon campus. (Karissa Gall photo)

Okanagan College campus flies Syilx flag

The Okanagan Nation Alliance flag was raised at a ceremony at Vernon campus on July 16

Okanagan College students raised the Syilx Okanagan Nation flag on July 16 outside the Vernon campus.

Michael Ochoa, whose father smudged the flag prior to the ceremony, and Tallin Gregoire raised the flag on Tuesday as Amber Cardenas sang The Okanagan Song, and representatives of the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA), the Okanagan Indian Band and Okanagan College looked on.

Ochoa and Gregoire are both members of the Okanagan Indian Band, and Cardenas is a member of the Penticton Indian Band.

Okanagan College student and Penticton Indian Band member Amber Cardenas sang The Okanagan Song on July 16 at the flag raising ceremony outside the Vernon campus. (Karissa Gall photo)

In addition to recognizing the traditional unceded territories of the Syilx (Okanagan) people, college president Jim Hamilton said the flag is a visible declaration of their commitment to work with and learn from Indigenous communities as they move down the path toward reconciliation.

He said in 2005/6 there were 400 Indigenous students at the college and today there are more than 1,400.

Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton said raising Okanagan Nation Alliance flags at college campuses is a visible declaration of their commitment to work with and learn from Indigenous communities. (Karissa Gall photo)

Okanagan Indian Band Coun. Allan Louis, a former student, said it was good to be back on the campus and see more Indigenous people enrolled at the school. In the future, he said, he hopes to see more Indigenous people in teaching and college staff positions.

READ MORE: Vernon OC Aboriginal planner wins national honour

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said the permanent flag is a step toward completing the sacred hoop.

“Colonization, neocolonization, residential schools … all of those terrible things that happened shattered the sacred hoop and now we’re putting the pieces back together,” he said. “It’s an absolutely amazing process to be a part of.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said the Okanagan Nation Alliance flag raised outside the Okanagan College Vernon campus on July 16 is a step toward completing the sacred hoop. (Karissa Gall photo)

Phillip also said he attended a flag raising ceremony in Penticton where young students got up and spoke the Syilx language.

“We’re talking about little, non-native kids with freckles on their face,” he said. “Not only did they speak our language, they did it with such a great sense of pride.”

He said he thinks Syilx people will also feel pride when they drive past the college and see the flag.

READ MORE: Okanagan Syilx Nation Flag now flies above UBC Okanagan Campus

Last month, the college raised a permanent ONA flag at the Kelowna campus. Allan Coyle, director of public affairs for the college, told the Vernon Morning Star that the college is also planning to raise a Secwepemc flag at the Salmon Arm campus this fall.

The Okanagan Nation Alliance flag raised outside the Okanagan College Vernon campus on July 16 features animals, water and the landscape significant to the area. (Karissa Gall photo)

The ONA flag features animals, water and the landscape significant to the area, as a representation of Syilx Okanagan people’s understanding of living in reciprocity and harmony with the natural world.



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Workshops, networking events designed for Shuswap women entrepreneurs on the way

Tsuts’weye project holds successful roundtables where valuable information gathered

‘She was awesome’: Malakwa baker leaves U.S. holiday show

‘There are Christmas miracles, look at me’

Salmon Arm ranked 7th best place to work in B.C. for 2020

Categories reflecting quality of life influence ranking

School District #83 board approves pay increase for trustees

Decision reflects policy, changes in BC Consumer Price Index

South Shuswap health clinic welcomes first doctor

Dr. Jack Beech to do Saturday walk-in clinic at Copper Island Health and Wellness Centre.

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

Weak link in Sagmoen trial, defence says

Counsel questions whether search warrant police executed was obtained on reasonable grounds

Salmon Arm Work BC office hosts grand reopening

Services available at the office will remain similar to past offerings

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

North Okanagan MP says throne speech lacked specifics

‘Trudeau government presented a vague agenda,’: MP Mel Arnold

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Independent Investigations Office seeks witnesses following arrest in Penticton

The male resisted arrest at approximately 8:40 a.m. and sustained a head injury

Most Read