Okanagan Indian Band Cultural Immersion School

Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) – programs & services

You can now make a contribution directly to the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) to support their programs and services. Your donation will go towards the revitalization of sqilxʷ culture and nsqilxʷcen language. Scroll down for the donation form and to read about the programs and services you can support.

A note from OKIB:

“Since the time of our Creation stories, sqilxʷ people (peoples of the land) have worked to uphold our responsibilities to timx’w (life force, all of life). Our time-perfected systems of caretaking timx’w provided abundantly for the people and all of life in our homelands. 

Now, living under the constraints of colonial impacts, the most important aspects of our culture have been undervalued and underfunded, making it difficult to provide what’s needed to pour back into our people. And what is needed is our culture and language. 

So this year, in the name of building kinship and enacting all of our responsibilities back to these beautiful lands we call home we are asking for your financial support to ensure the preservation of our ways. 

Contributing to the people of nk̓maplqs you are contributing to the dream of having a space and resources to continue to reawaken our sqilxʷ ways, to honour ourselves, our people, and our responsibilities to this place and time.”

Programs & Services that need your support

Language Nest – language program

Language Nest is one of the most vital programs to reawakening the language in the community. The cultural name for Language Nest is:  ckʷukʷ ƛ̓lap il skʷkʷƛ̓ilt, nalɬ ƛ̓x̌əx̌ƛ̓x̌ap (the sun shines on the fawn and the old people).

With only six fluent speakers in the Okanagan Indian Band, every program that provides access to language is vital and in high need of funding for preservation.

Language Nest is an early language immersion program for infants, toddlers, and preschool aged children. The Language Nest program:

  • Reconnects children with fluent Elders and immerses them in the nsqilxʷcen (the language of the sqilxʷ people) language and culture through play-based activities that are delivered in a home-like environment.
  • Wraps the language around the children so that language and knowledge transfers begin from utero. This is only one way this team contributes to raising future generations of fluent speakers. 

Tupas Kitchen – cultural food program

  • A traditional foods program teaching the community how to harvest, prepare, and preserve foods, and cultural camps where children gain skills on the land while also building kinships, which will strengthen community relations. 

OKIB Annual Hunting Camps – cultural preservation program

  • Elders, youth and community members set up camp to hunt for the winter
  • Support to effectively run these camps is needed each year. Funding for the essentials such as, food, gas, and allow the camp to function efficiently for everyone.

Community Garden – cultural program

  • The garden is used to sustain the community during the summer months and fall harvest. 
  • The garden is currently raising funding to replace gardening equipment that was stolen.

OKIB is in the process of building a new Cultural Immersion School at Komasket Park. The Cultural Immersion school was created from the dream of pouring culture, language, and sqilxʷ ways of being back into the children. 

nk̓maplqs iʔ snm̓am̓ay̓aʔtn iʔ k̓l sqilxʷtət translates to ‘head of the lake where our children go learn our Indigenous ways’.

The new building will be for a K4-7 elementary school and will consist of:

    • classrooms
    • library
    • gymnasium
    • lunchroom and kitchen
    • administration/staff
    • health rooms
    • storage
    • circulation
    • design space

The OKIB community knew the need for a Cultural Immersion School, so they opened the doors to a classroom in a section of the Early Childhood Education Centre and later expanded in 2006, where the children were moved to the retired Indian Day School building offering a full elementary program (grades K-7) by 2010. 

Since then, every year, the student population has grown by 11% and has continued to grow over the past 20 years. Demonstrating that families in the community continue to pursue reawakening their culture in their homeplace. 

OKIB remains hopeful and focused on celebrating the day they can open the doors to the children of the community, they still need financial support to bring that dream into reality. 

The increased price of construction materials, slowed supply chains, and labour shortages have all stretched the proposed capital budget. Your kind financial support will make a difference in contributing to the dream in the OKIB community.

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