A new sign in Naramata recognizes the traditional Syilx name for the area, which translates to House of Bald Eagle. Photo courtesy Penticton Indian Band

Naramata honours Syilx culture

New community sign recognizes traditional name for area

It’s not a new name for Naramata, but a sign at the entrance to the little community recognizes the name the area was known by long ago.

Long before European settlers arrived on the scene, that area was known as citxʷs paqəlqyn, or House of Bald Eagle, by the Syilx people.

Recognizing the area’s traditional name is part of an important process, according to James Pepper, the PIB’s natural resources department director.

“It’s part of a really important process. Something that is often overlooked is there is a deep-rooted history, as the chief (Chad Eneas) mentioned in his speech. At the lower levels, we have artifacts and archaeology that date back to around 4,500 to 5, 000 years ago. In the upper elevations we have archaeology that dates back even farther than that because there was ice in the lower reaches,” said Pepper. “This is a really interesting, rich, cultural history and this is a really important part of that. We know that Naramata was essentially home to numerous bald eagle roosts, hence the name House of Bald Eagle, citxʷs paqəlqyn.”

The genesis of the name recognition project came out of a park-naming project. Karla Kozakevich, Naramata’s director on the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board, said the area had acquired a new park and decided to turn to the public to suggest names.

“One of them that was suggested was Eagles’ House and they said that was the traditional name of Naramata. Then we had a vote and the public voted that as the highest, that they wanted that,” said Kozakevich.

They contacted the PIB and found out that wasn’t quite right. House of Bald Eagle was the more accurate translation, and it applied to the larger area.

“We just decided to put a recognition sign at the entrance to Naramata to identify the whole area as traditionally known as House of Bald Eagle,” said Kozakevich. The park ended up being named Spirit Park, another of the favourite names gathered through voting on mynaramata.com

“Things like that are really of interest and I think they are an important part of reconciliation, sharing that knowledge and understanding each other’s perspective. Changing place names, or amalgamating them as we have, is a really important part in that process,” said Pepper. “We are fortunate here at the natural resources department to meet weekly with the language speakers, elders and knowledge keepers and they advise us on a lot of the work we do and undertake.

“One of those discussions was around place names. Place names, in Syilx culture, are more than just names. They have a cultural context and this one did as well.”

Kozakevich said it was an “outstanding opportunity to work more closely with the PIB,” and that PIB Chief Chad Eneas was very supportive of the process.

“We’re looking at possible future projects with them as well, so this is sort of a springboard to some other future opportunities,” said Kozakevich.

Pepper also sees this as helping develop the working relationship between the two governments.

“With inter-government relations, there are some tough conversations, and that those can be difficult to have and they take a long time. But there are also ways that are easy for us to work together,” said Pepper. “This is one of those ways. Working with the regional district, we’ve had a very good working relationship for this project, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Pepper said he’s looking for more opportunities to talk some of the “low-hanging fruit” along with the tougher discussions.

“If you always focus relationship development on the really hard contentious stuff, it’s going to be really hard to forge ahead,” said Pepper. “But if you allow room for some of these easy wins, you start getting to know each other and it makes the tough stuff easier to talk about and move forward with.”


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

Salvation Army falling short of fundraising goal

The charity has raised 61 per cent of their goal, meaning a shortfall of $313,000.

Kelowna-based KF Aerospace gets WestJet Encore contract

This is KF’s third contract with the award-winning airline family.

Retailers feel impact of generous return policies

Technology data tracking can clamp down on fraudulent abuse

Sarah MacDougall talks emulating the vastness of nature in latest album

The Swedish musician will perform in Kelowna Jan. 30

Your morning news in 90: Dec. 18, 2018

Tune in for 90 seconds to get the top headlines for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Price of Alberta oil plummeted so low that Alberta’s Premier said Canada was practically giving it away

Wicked weather, including heavy snow, rainfall, hammers southern B.C.

Environment Canada has posted winter storm warnings for the Coquihalla Highway, Highway 3

Caretaker jailed, must pay back money after stealing $260K from elderly B.C. couple

Antonette Dizon, now 50, had been hired to provide extra care for Henry and Helen Abfalter

Canadians to get low-cost data-only mobile phone plans within 90 days: CRTC

Bell, Rogers and Telus will provide plans as cheap as 250MB for $15

Police have ‘viable suspects’ in B.C. gangster’s 2017 murder

Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg was successful in asking a judge to extend the length of time police can hold onto exhibits seized in connection with the homicide.

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Vancouver Island

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Stricter drunk driving laws to take effect across Canada today

It gives police officers the right to ask for a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop

Most Read