View of Lake Okanagan. Photo by Chehala Leonard.
Okanagan

IndigiNews of the week: Welcoming in the fall

Your weekly roundup of news and information about what’s happening across the Nation.

Fall is upon us and while things are still warm in the Okanagan, temperatures are beginning to shift and cool down across Turtle Island. Here is our latest:

Worth your time  

  • Liard First Nation wins award for work preserving Kaska language according to CBC, “The Liard First Nation’s language department is being recognized by Canada’s premiers for decades of work done to promote and preserve the Kaska language.” They spoke with Martina Volfova, language director with the Liard First Nation who told them, “We are very excited and just glad that the work over the years is being recognized,” and that “This kind of work is just ongoing, and it’s like generations — multigenerational.” CBC reports that due to the COVID-19 pandemic classes have been closed but Kaska will soon turn to online classes. Volfova said to CBC, “Lots of work needs to still, of course, [to] happen. It is totally ongoing, but we’re really excited that we are getting some new learners that have been taking it very seriously and dedicating their time to the language.”

  • Marvel announces Native American comics: The Columbian reports Marvels push for more accurate representation. They report: “Past portrayals of Native American or Indigenous comic book superheroes would often follow the same checklist — mystical powers, an ability to talk to animals and a costume of either a headdress or a loincloth.” Jeffrey Veregge an artist of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington told The Guardian. “Poor research was done. They were just going off of TV and film.” Dezbah Evans explained to them that she wants to see more women also represented, “Whenever I think of super Native women, they’re all mothers — my mom, my grandma. They’re the first heroes in all of our lives,” Evans said. “It would be really interesting to have a modern Indigenous mom living and being a superhero.”

  • Montreal Mohawk artist Skawennati was awarded a Smithsonian fellowship, the Montreal Gazette reports, “The Montreal-based Mohawk artist is one of the 2020 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellows.” They explain that Skawennati is one of 16 recipients chosen for the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowships. They interviewed Skawennati who told them, “What I hope to find is the ancestor of the ribbon shirt,” Skawennati said. “I want to know if we started using ribbons right away when (Europeans) came here, or if we (already) had shirts, and what we put (on them). Was it eel skins? That’s what I heard. I hope to find old, old shirts, and find out what materials they were made of. I imagine deer or animal hide.” Rebecca Trautmann, assistant curator of contemporary art at the National Museum of the American Indian told the Montreal Gazette via email that, “Skawennati draws on Haudenosaunee oral and cultural traditions to envision a vibrant Indigenous future.” 

 

News of the week

  • Top Waikato University Māori astronomer Dr Rangi Matamua ‘seriously considering’ leaving over systemic racism according to the New Zealand Herald.” Māori astronomer Professor Dr Rangi Matamua, who this year received the Prime Minister’s Science Communications Prize and has been a leading proponent of making Matariki a public holiday, told the Herald he didn’t feel the university was a “place I can be anymore.” They report that: “World-renowned Professor of indigenous education Linda Tuhiwai-Smith, along with six academics, wrote a 13-page letter alerting the Ministry of Education to their concerns.” Matamua continued to explain that: “We feel marginalised, invisible. We operate in an environment of fear that we will lose our jobs if we speak out. I am not sure if this is a place I can be anymore. I don’t feel this is a culturally safe space.”The paper reached out and did not receive a response from the university.

  • B.C. First Nation declares state of emergency due to COVID-19 outbreak according to CBC Tla’amin First Nation near Powell River, B.C. declared a state of emergency, “The order went into effect Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT and requires residents to stay home — or wherever they were at the time the order was issued — until Friday.” Hegus Clint Williams, a Tla’amin leader said. “We ask our community members to abide by and be respectful of this lockdown and we also ask our friends and neighbours to respect this as well, by not having any unnecessary visits within our community.” CBC reports that, “Parents are asked to keep their children home for the remainder of the week.”

  • Iroquois Nationals Accept Invitation to The World Games 2022 US Lacrosse reports that: “The Iroquois Nationals have accepted an invitation to compete in the men’s lacrosse competition at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Ala., signaling a victory in the six-week campaign to reverse an earlier decision to exclude them due to Olympic eligibility criteria. An online petition garnered more than 50,000 signatures and reignited the conversation surrounding the sovereignty of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Iroquois Nationals have accepted the invitation to the World Games 2022.” They also explain that Ireland voluntarily withdrew from the Games, which, “helped make way for the Iroquois’ inclusion.”

 

Okanagan latest

  • Truck reported stolen in Greenwood held Penticton Indian Band councillor’s cultural object according to Penticton Western News, “A councillor on the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) is missing a precious cultural object after his truck was reportedly stolen from outside a hotel in Greenwood, B.C.” They spoke with Elliott Tonasket of the Syilx First Nation who explains that his truck was stolen while he was staying at Evening Star Motel on September 3, 2020. They explain, “More important than his truck, which he called “a piece of metal,” Tonasket said the Ford stored a fasting feather given to him by prominent Syilx elder, Arnold Baptiste. Tonasket, who practices his people’s culture, said Baptiste honoured him with the feather at a mountaintop ceremony near Penticton at the end of a four-day fast.” They report that the truck is still stolen and the “license plate number JT 5794 to call 911 right away.”

  • Okanagan Indian Band begins construction of Duck Lake Business Park according to Indigenous Services Canada “The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, congratulated the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) on starting construction of the Duck Lake Business Park. The Government of Canada provided $2.275 million through Indigenous Services Canada’s Community Opportunity Readiness Program (CORP) to support the business park’s infrastructure costs, including site preparation, earthworks and grading, road realignment, paving, water and wastewater servicing, drainage infrastructure, and power.” Quoting Chief Byron Louis of the Okanagan Indian Band, he said that, “On behalf of Chief and Council and the Okanagan Band we thank the Honourable Minister Marc Miller and Indigenous Services Canada for accepting our application to the Community Opportunity Readiness Program.”

  • ‘It makes me so proud’ says Indigenous artist following completion of Keremeos mural Pentiction Western News reports on a new mural in Keremos by Madeline Terbasket. “Located in downtown Keremeos on the side of Okanagan-Similkameen Community Acupuncture building, the new work of art contains captikwl, traditional Syilx stories,” they report. Terbasket told them that, “The design is inspired by Capcikw, which is an Okanagan legend about how bear gave his life for the people to be, to have food.” She also said, “It makes me so proud. I didn’t grow up with murals in town that were about the Similkameen people. It just makes me so proud that our people have a whole wall now about who we are, and we get to see ourselves.”

 

That’s it for this week! If you have news or information that you want to share, email me: chehala@indiginews.com.