Third anniversary of South Okanagan accord celebrated in Penticton

Leaders gathered last month to celebrate the third anniversary of the signing of the South Okanagan Similkameen Protocol Agreement

Penticton Indian Band Chief Jonathon Kruger talks about how unique the South Okanagan Similkameen Protocol Agreement is

Penticton Indian Band Chief Jonathon Kruger talks about how unique the South Okanagan Similkameen Protocol Agreement is

Speaking at the third anniversary of the signing of the South Okanagan Similkameen Protocol Agreement in June, Chief Jonathon Kruger made it clear he regards the document as something special.

“We are setting the bar,” Kruger told an audience of dignitaries and supporters gathered to celebrate the anniversary in Penticton’s Ikeda Gardens. “We should be very proud of what we are doing here.”

The agreement was signed by Penticton Indian Band, Lower Similkameen Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian Band and the RDOS on June 21, 2013. It formalizes the commitment to continue government-to-government co-operation and confirms the desire to continue to live and work together.

“At the end of the day, I know that we all want to move forward together,” said Kruger.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said everything is based on relationships and our success in life are a result of our ability to establish relationships, to sustain relationships, to maintain the principles of mutual respect and acknowledgement.

“We have accomplished that here, not only in Penticton but in South Okanagan. There were times in the past when relationships were challenging and somewhat strained. I believe the best relationships are forged in the furnace of those kind of challenges,” said Phillip.

Kruger said few other First Nations have achieved the working relationship the protocol agreement represents. It’s something he wants to share with other First Nations and municipalities, not only in B.C., but across the country.

“I have been talking with the mayor (Andrew Jakubeit) and saying we should share our story,” said Kruger.