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

A new park is under development for the Lower Kootenay Band. Ken White, facility and operations manager, holds up the draft plans with Nasukin Jason Louie on the construction site. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Lower Kootenay Band develops plan for new memorial park

The new Kulilu Garden will serve as a memorial for children who died from polio and tuberculosis in the 1930s and 40s

A new Kootenay Farms Food Hub facility will be opening in Creston this fall to support food processing, packaging, and distribution to increase access to additional healthy, local foods in the region. The project is being led by the Fields Forward Society and will use equipment such as the Kootenay Mobile Press (pictured). (Submitted)
Creston’s upcoming food processing facility will allow for new value-added products

With affordable equipment, farmers and growers can create new items like jerky, jam, and juice

COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in the Kootenays. Illustration: BC Centre for Disease Control
Highest weekly number of new COVID-19 cases in 2021 for Nelson

The Nelson local health area had 13 new cases in early April

ANKORS held a small demonstration outside Nelson City Hall and the courthouse Wednesday to mark the five-year anniversary of the province declaring the toxic drug supply crisis. Photo: Tyler Harper
‘We’re all supposed to take care of each other’: 5 years of toxic drug supply crisis marked in Nelson

Over 7,000 people have died in B.C. since the crisis was announced in 2016

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
VIDEO: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Most Read