Okanagan Nation assembles

First Nation leaders from across the Okanagan are gathered in Vernon for the Okanagan Nation Alliance's annual general assembly.

The two-day event provides Syilx Okanagan people with the opportunity to celebrate successes and reflect on persistent challenges, the ONA says.

The Okanagan Indian Band is hosting the event at the Prestige Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre.

Keynote speaker Bernie Williams Poitras recently contributed to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Alongside the generational impacts of Indian Residential Schools, systemic racism and violence, the issue of missing and murdered women continues to have profound effects on Syilx communities, says Poitras.

“This is a trying time for Canada," says Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. "The prime minister’s lofty promises of transparency, integrity, gender equity, Indigenous reconciliation, and enhanced environmental protection have all been shown to have very shallow roots. Words are one thing, but deeds are quite another.

"At this year’s AGA, we continue to come together, as our ancestors have always done, to find the ways and means of taking on the challenges that colonialism has created, and finding solutions that resonate within our contemporary context.”

Alongside a variety of pertinent presentations and dialogues, there will also be a host of cultural activities taking place, including canoe races, traditional games, and more.

An annual youth leadership and elders gathering will coincide with the assembly, which concludes Thursday. 

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