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 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

Brenda Ware. (RCMP)
Murder charge laid against man in Kootenay National Park homicide

Philip Toner was located in Lake Country on May 11

Michelle St. Pierre, UBCO’s 2021 graduate student researcher of the year, is hoping to change the discussion surrounding the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs. (UBCO photo)
UBCO researcher examining therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs

Michelle St. Pierre has been researching the use of psychedelics since 2015

The community is rallying around Phil Hotzon who needs a new electric tricycle. (Contributed)
Tricycle for Phil: Support pours in for Kelowna man with traumatic brain injury

Phil Hotzon lost his electric tricycle after falling into Mill Creek, fundraiser aims to replace it

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Dogs can understand some English

Your morning start for Wednesday, May 12, 2021

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

A Mountie issued B.C. RCMP’s first ticket for non-essential travel May 1. (Black Press Media files)
Driver ticketed, told to ‘return to Lower Mainland immediately’ by Vancouver Island police

The motorist was originally pulled over for driving-related offences May 1

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children walk back to their classroom while wearing masks and physical distancing at St. Barnabas Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont., in October, 2020. A group of B.C. teachers has issued an open letter calling for the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in B.C. schools. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Group of B.C. teachers calls for easing of pandemic measures for students

Teacher group says ‘response to COVID is out of balance to the cost our youth are paying’

Adam Hamdan has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorist charges given temporary residence in Canada

Adam Hamdan had been facing deportation to Jordan, where he holds citizenship through his Palestinian parents

Lumber is shown in the back of a van in this recent image provided by the Saskatoon Police Service. The skyrocketing prices for lumber is fuelling a trend that has authorities across the country warning builders to keep their guard up. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Saskatoon Police Service-Const. Derek Chesney *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘It is a gold mine:’ Builders warned of rising lumber thefts across Canada

Many North American mills curtailed production temporarily earlier in 2020 because of COVID lockdowns

Most Read