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

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Interior Health hospitals not strained by rising COVID case counts

While provincial hospitalizations rise, health care systems in the B.C. Interior remain robust, say officials

BC CDC data showing the geographic distribution of COVID cases in the province. (BC CDC photo)
One new case of COVID-19 in Golden

Cases continue to surge in surrounding areas

The Golden Golf Club will open for a new season on the links beginning April 24. (Claire Palmer photo)
Golden Golf club eyes April 24 start

The golf course is supporting local businesses with the driving range and mini-golf

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A in Princeton

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a truck fire on Dallas Road in Vernon April 15, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
WATCH: Vernon firefighters quick to douse fully involved truck fire

The fire was near multiple structures and spreading along the ground upon crews’ arrival

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

Fire crews tend to a collision that is causing severe traffic delays on the William R. Bennett bridge headed east into Kelowna. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
7 vehicle collision on WR Bennett Bridge under investigation

The collision backed up traffic on the William R. Bennett bridge for much of the morning

Kelowna company celebrates milestone of producing 46 million masks in under a year.
46 million masks and counting: Kelowna company reaches 1 year milstone

In under a year, Breathe Manufacturing Ltd. in Kelowna has hit production of 46 million masks for front-line workers

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
Kelowna RCMP investigating hit and run involving 11-year-old

Police said the boy suffered minor injuries

Most Read