Ncicn Kruger of Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School leads the charge in the snowshoe race in March. Western News file photo

Dual language sign unveiling Monday at Okanagan nordic centre

Signs in English and nsyilxcn (Okanagan Nation) to be unveiled Monday at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre

A celebration of Nickel Plate Nordic Centre’s unveiling of new dual language, English and nsyilxcn (the Okanagan language) ski trail signs, is planned for Monday.

The signage is a collaborative effort between the Sylix/Okanagan Nation, Spirit North and Nickel Plate involving the translation of 30 ski trail names.

Nickel Plate plays host to Spirit North community programming where Indigenous youth from the Syilx/Okanagan Nation enjoy ski lessons throughout the winter months to help them stay active and healthy through sport.

The program generally begins in September when the outreach leaders go to West Bench Elementary and Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School to begin working with and getting to know students.

Last season was the first year the Alberta-based charitable organization offered the program in B.C. at three centres including Nickel Plate. The others were at locations near Smithers and Terrace.

About 1,500 students in this province took part in the pilot program and nearly 5,000 overall in B.C. and Alberta.

In addition, families of participating students can use the trails and equipment for free.

Related: Sharing the voices of the mountains with Spirit North

There were concerns in early September the program in B.C. would not go ahead after the federal government was non-committal about the funding grant Spirit North had applied for.

The Western News contacted Indigenous Service Canada about the matter and were told there would be an answer in “the coming weeks” however less than a week later Spirit North CEO and Olympic medalist Beckie Scott was informed they would receive the full $1.7 million grant.

Related: Great news for Indigenous youth program in BC

The money meant Spirit North would not only continue at the existing locations but expand the program to other parts of B.C. including the West Bank First Nations school sənsisyustən House of Learning.

“We had kind of given up on this and were moving ahead,” said Scott at the time she learned about the approval last September. “This is amazing.”

The celebration of the sign unveiling begins at noon and will include students from the two schools and members of the Syilx/Okanagan Nation and Spirit North representatives.


 

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Traditional and modern First Nations dancers at the Spirit North program wrap up in March. Western News file photo

Knowledge Keeper Richard Armstrong at Penticton Indian Band Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School with a sign he helped translate for the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre trails that will be unveiled at the centre Monday. Western News file photo

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