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

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Central Okanagan public schools address lead levels in district’s water

Secretary tresurer has sent letter to boad education members on updates to situation

City preparing new agricultural irrigation rates for Southeast Kelowna

Over 500 agriculture utility customers are preparing to transition to the city’s water system

Kelowna RCMP investigating assault outside strip club

A man was assaulted outside Liquid Zoo on Nov. 3

Developer proposes ‘eco-villa’ in West Kelowna

The quasi off-grid proposal includes building 16 residential units at 3060 Seclusion Bay Road

Gym enthusiasts invited to get in gear for kids

Spin4Kids Saturday at GoodLife Fitness

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Malakwa woman still in the running for winning American baking show

Janet Letendre is the only Canadian competing on the Holiday Baking Championship

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

New Okanagan resident building skills and community

The Respect Works Here November Multicultural Community Champion

Business savy volunteers sought in North Okanagan

Community Futures looking for members to join advisory panel, board and loans committee

SilverStar to open Nordic trails Saturday in North Okanagan

25 km of groomed trails are ready to explore by cross-country skiers

Salmon Arm businesses tipped off to Black Press advantage

Black Press Media hosts day of presentations for local business representatives

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

Most Read