Village origins recognized

Colton Davies

Dozens gathered at Manitou Park in Naramata on Wednesday to unveil a new entry sign recognizing the community’s original name.

The name, citxws paqelqyn in traditional Sylix language, translates to "House of Bald Eagle" in English.

The idea to create the new sign came about from the Naramata Truth and Reconciliation Commission group, which told the local governments that the community was once called the House of Bald Eagle.

"To be able to recognize the whole region here as the 'House of Bald Eagle,' what it truly was, is really important to us," Karla Kozakevich said, Naramata director and board chair of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

Students from Outma Sqilx'w School on the Penticton Indian Band and Naramata Elementary School were part of Wednesday’s unveiling, and Penticton Indian Band Chief Chad Eneas said it’s important to share the history of the area with the young ones.

"Part of it is trying to live out part of a legacy for recognizing the Indigenous heritage in the area. And I think that speaks volumes to the collaboration that's possible," Eneas said.

The regional district said there’s another project in the works to identify traditional First Nations territory, with early talks going on to create a heritage park and trail in Naramata.

"We have a creek trail that goes up through Creek Park to the KVR. Above the KVR, we just recently acquired a piece of land from a property owner that we would also like to designate in honour of 'House of Bald Eagle,'" Kozakevich said.

"We'd look at maybe a trail into it, some benches... As well as an education piece for the citizens, tourists and children, where we can identify different areas of the trail and focus on First Nations learning for the kids."

For now, regional district staff say this new sign is a tangible way to highlight their working relationship with the PIB.

The sign will be put up at the entrance to the community along Naramata Road.

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