SD 10 in Nakusp. (File photo)

SD 10 in Nakusp. (File photo)

Arrow Lakes school board changes land acknowledgement to only include Sinixt

‘As educators, it’s our job to be as truthful as possible’

Arrow Lakes school board quietly updated their Indigenous land acknowledgement earlier this year to only include the Sinixt Nation.

Previously, the acknowledgment given before each district meeting, also referenced the Okanagan Band, Shuswap and Ktunaxa on neighbouring lands.

The decision to acknowledge just the one nation – the Sinixt – is an attempt to be more honest, said Superintendent Terry Taylor. The change came after consultation with the Sinixt.

“As educators, it’s our job to be as truthful as possible,” said Taylor.

READ MORE: New book released on the untold Indigenous history of Revelstoke

According to the Revelstoke Museum and Archives, historical evidence suggests the area of Arrow Lakes is the traditional lands of the Sinixt, although other nations may have travelled through the area for trade.

“This is Sinixt territory, that is the truth,” Taylor said.

While the Canadian government declared the Sinixt extinct in 1956, the nation is anything but.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Sinixt and B.C. argue rights at Supreme Court of Canada

According to Marilyn James of the Sinixt, the nation currently numbers more than 6,000 people, making it similar in size to the City of Revelstoke.

A case determining whether or not the Sinixt have Indigenous rights in Canada was heard at the Supreme Court of Canada last fall. The court is expected to make a decision later this year.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Sinixt and B.C. argue rights at Supreme Court of Canada

Taylor said, as a settler, part of her responsibility is to unlearn and re-story from colonial frameworks for reconciliation. She pointed to Murray Sinclair’s famous quote, “Education got us into this mess and education will get us out of it.”

Sinclair was the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which produced a report for reconciliation in Canada in 2015 after hearing six years of testimony from more than 7,000 residential school survivors.

When Taylor first started teaching in Nakusp in 1983, she said no one told the history of the area through an Indigenous lens.

“We thought it was a barren landscape,” she said.

However, approximately 22 per cent of students in Arrow Lakes school district self-identity as Indigenous, which is significantly above the 12 per cent provincial average.

While Indigenous land acknowledgements might seem paltry, Shelly Boyd of the Sinixt said they are like tiny pebbles in a giant rock cairn.

The small stones may seem insignificant and unnoticed, wedged between larger rocks, but they provide stability and strength.

“Without tiny rocks the cairn will teeter and fall,” she said.

Boyd said words matter, especially for a nation that, according to the Canadian government, does not exist.

She said the Indigenous land acknowledgement change by SD 10 is a step in the right direction and agreed with Taylor that only specifying the Sinixt is more truthful.

“When everything is important, nothing is,” she said.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

EducationIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Penticton Farmers Market is gearing up to open April 17 with COVID-19 safety protocols in place including mandatory masks. (Brennan Phillip/file photo)
Penticton Farmers Market needs volunteers, prepares for opening day

The Farmer’s Market will return to Main Street April 17

An old faucet. (Pixabay)
‘Wild wild west’ of water has Farleigh Lake resident concerned

Lack of oversight and unclear responsibilities has led to nothing but stress

The Cactus Court housing property was intended to have zero barriers for accessibility, but the door sills are visibly above the outer layer of concrete. It is one of the issues that BC Housing has hired a new contractor to fix. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
BC Housing begins fixing issues at two Keremeos housing projects

The new plan is to have the units ready for residents by the summer

Slackwater Brewing, on Martin Street, is hoping this warm, sunny weather will bring out people to their patio and rooftop patio as do the dozens of other restaurants in town counting on patio visits during these difficult times. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Perfect patio weather brings perfect chance to help out Penticton restaurants

City boasts more than 30 patios to choose from, with more patios coming downtown soon

(Photo: pixabay.com)
Morning Start: More human twins are being born now than ever before

Your morning start for Friday, April 16, 2021

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

A Canada goose honks at other birds at Salish Park on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Goose addling program underway in Vernon

2021 cull applications in process as addling program enters 15th year

The Columbia Valley Wetlands are known for their extensive and fragile ecosystem. (File photo)
Wildsight speaks out against logging in Columbia Wetlands

Located 50 kms south of Golden, the proposed operation was justified as bark beetle management

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
The Vernon Pickleball Association spotlights member Don Friesen ahead of National Volunteer Week (April 18-24, 2021). (Vernon Pickleball Association)
Volunteer praised by Vernon pickleballers

Marshall Field pickleball complex wouldn’t be possible without dedicated volunteer hours: VPA

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

John Gibson has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help care for his father Stephen McCrae-Gibson, who suffered a stroke in February and had to undergo surgery to remove a blood clot near his brain. (Contributed)
Long road ahead for Salmon Arm man recovering after stroke

Son launches GoFundMe campaign to help prepare for father’s return and rehabilitation

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Road rager fails breathalyzer on busy B.C. highway in vehicle he shouldn’t be driving

Saanich police say man was operating vehicle without required ignition lock

Most Read