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

Just Posted

The KBRH Gratitude Mural by Tyler Toews was unveiled at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital on June 9. L-R: Kala Draney, third year med student, Dr. Scot Mountain, Diane Shendruk from IH, Dr. Carolyn Stark, Dr. Sue Benzer, Dr. Kristen Edge, James Brotherhood, Dr. Dennis Small, and Dr. Sue Babensee. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Boundary doctors offer a healthy dose of goodness with Gratitude Mural

Its red ribbon is in the shape of a heart rising above a Kootenay Boundary mountain scene

A cougar, or cougars, went on a killing rampage at a small Fruitvale farm. Photo: Thomas S. on Unsplash
Cougar euthanized after taking out small animal farm in Fruitvale

Wildlife interactions, poachers or polluters should be reported to RAPP at 1.877.952.7277

Daryl Jolly, his wife Kerry Pagdin, their sons Cole Jolly (left) and Graeme Jolly, and their dogs Gracie and Clover. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College arts chair diagnosed with lung cancer, family launches fund drive

Daryl Jolly co-founded the college’s digital arts program

TELUS is proposing to construct a 5G tower at Pople Park. Photo: Sheri Regnier
First 5G tower in Trail proposed for placement in popular park

TELUS has a consultation process open until June 28

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Grace (left), a caribou that was born in a maternal pen north of Revelstoke, is alive and well said the province. It appears she even has a calf. Maternity pens aim to increase caribou calf survival by protecting them from predation until they are older and less vulnerable. (Contributed)
For the first time in years, caribou numbers increasing near Revelstoke

North herd growing but south herd still concerning

Most Read