A special unveiling ceremony took place at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH), where three paintings by local Indigenous artists of the Syilx Nation were presented on behalf of the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA).
The paintings, commissioned by the ONA to commemorate a long standing effort of the ONA and Interior Health (IH) to foster a positive health partnership, will be displayed in Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH), KGH, and Vernon Jubilee Hospital (VJH).
The artists painted three beautiful and different works, representing the traditional and modern Syilx experience in the Okanagan territory.
PRH will host the painting titled The Land Before Us by artist Les Louis and will display the piece in the reception area of the main building. KGH will receive the painting titled Piqa? – Digging Stick by artist Sheldon Pierre Louis, which will be displayed in the main lobby of the Centennial building. VJH will display the painting titled Star Blanket of Life by artist David Wilson, which will hang in main lobby of the new Polson Tower.
The historic health partnership was signed between the ONA, the Tribal Council of the Okanagan people, and IH on June 13, 2012. The Letter of Understanding is a commitment by both partners to work together to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people and to deliver appropriate and culturally safe health-care services which respect and value the first peoples of these lands.
Through continued collaboration, ONA and IH leaders are making strides towards reducing barriers and creating welcoming spaces for Aboriginal people accessing health services.