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Letter: Syilx member calls out Gilbert for ‘colonialist organization’ comment

Coun. Gilbert shows lack of understanding with comment against Penticton Art Gallery
At the Nov. 7 meeting, Penticton City councillor Isaac Gilbert called the Penticton Art Gallery a “colonialist organization.” A syilx member of the Penticton Indian Band said his comments show lack of understanding of relationship between the gallery and En’owkin Centre. (City of Penticton)

Dear Mayor and Council - Wai,

I am a syilx member of the Penticton Indian Band, I live in the community of Penticton and am on the Board of the Penticton Art Gallery.

It was brought to my attention that Councillor Isaac Gilbert referenced the En’owkin Centre at the Nov. 7, regular council meeting. I just wanted to correct the information which he presented.

The En’owkin Centre is not run by the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) but rather it is governed by the Okanagan Indian Educational Resources Society.

Councillor Gilbert also presented the idea that The Penticton Art Gallery is a “colonialist organization.” I find this statement obviously shows his lack of understanding as to how much PAG works with the En’owkin Centre and many many indigenous artists to promote the artists and educate the general public about indigenous art.

The En’owkin Centre staff presented the curator, Paul Crawford with some very special gifts in appreciation for how much has been done to help the students of the En’owkin Centre for the many shows over the years.

Furthermore, the transcript that I read looks like Coun. Gilbert inferred that a person could just simply go to the En’owkin Centre and learn from syilx people. The En’owkin Centre offers language and art programming only to the Indigenous community.


Nancy Schmidt