Kayak Wendy hiking in Kalamalka Park in the Okanagan Valley in June, 2019. (submitted)

Kayak Wendy hiking in Kalamalka Park in the Okanagan Valley in June, 2019. (submitted)

How did the Okanagan come to be?

What’s in our backyard?

The Okanagan escarpment, peaks and valleys were formed sometime between 9,000 and 11,000 years ago when glacier activity during the Pleistocene Epoch carved out what we now know as the Okanagan Valley. (Pleistocene Epoch was an age that began approximately 2.6 million years ago and is anachronistic with the most recent Ice Age, according to Kim Ann Zimmermann of Live Science)

The leftover grinded silt from the movement of the glaciers was eroded by Earthly elements and created the deltas in which Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon are now located. Beside them, the Swan, Kalamalka, Skaha, Vaseux and Osoyoos lakes, according to James Marsh of the Canadian Encyclopedia.

The region was first walked upon by the Okanagan of the Interior Salish, who gave the valley its name. Okanagan translates as “place of water,” wrote Marsh.

READ MORE: Top stories of the week: McCurdy, small businesses, weed and skivvies

Elder from Westbank First Nation, Pamela Barnes, whose ancestral name means, “the coming of a storm and the coming of change,” explained the relationship between the Indigenous community and what the Okanagan lands mean to them at a Journey Home event earlier in the summer.

“Our lands are made up of the blood and the bones of our ancestors for thousands and thousands of years,” she said. “It’s all sacred to us.”

Barnes said First Nations people do not see themselves as owners of these lands “in the way that newcomers have defined ownership.” They see themselves as borrowers from their great ancestors.

READ MORE: Using scrap materials, man builds workout equipment at B.C. tent city

READ MORE: Canadian officials flagged 9000 food items from China with ‘problems’ over 2 years

“There’s a very big difference between the concept of ownership and the concept of borrowing,” she said, grabbing the necklace that hangs from her neck. She explained how she can sell, give away or damage the necklace because she owns it, rather than borrowing it, in which case her actions would need to change. It is not hers, she must return it in the same, or better, condition than when she first received it.

“It’s more like holding (these lands) in trust for the future generations,” she said. “We have responsibilities.”

In about 1840, European missionaries built their first settlement near the northern tip of the Okanagan Lake. Almost 20 years later, they established themselves in Kelowna, according to Marsh.

In 2019, inhabitants share the expansive 200 km long and 20 km wide valley, known for its spectacular views, backyard hikes and harvestable soils—although the first apple trees were planted near Osoyoos around 1857, Marsh accords that the 1930s were truly the dawn of fertile lands that replaced the quasi-desert.

Now, between the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan and Okanagan-Similkameen regions, the valley has approximately 362,258 residents, circa 2016, according to the Canadian 2016 Census.

READ MORE: Kelowna senior speaks out about care at KGH


@davidvenn_
David.venn@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News file)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

(Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)
Delays expected on Lakeshore Road this week

Northbound traffic on Lakeshore between Richter and Barrera will be detoured for paving

David Larsen, left, and co-host Tony Peyton. (K96.3/Twitter)
Popular Kelowna radio host dies after battle with cancer

David Larsen was half of the longtime Kelowna morning-show duo David and Tony

A storm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Kootenays and Columbia regions of B.C. (Calvin Dickson photo)
Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for thunderstorms that may produce strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain

Craft Culture Events hosts its first of four summer markets at Prospera Place in Kelowna (Craft Culture Events/Contributed).
Kelowna’s Prospera Place summer market a success

Craft Culture Events hosts its first of four summer markets and vendors were ‘excited’ to be back

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

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

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read