Westbank First Nation and City of Kelowna Partner to Unveil a Monument of Historic syilx Chief
Westbank First Nation (WFN) and the City of Kelowna came together today through a long-standing partnership to unveil a monument of historic syilx Chief, Charlie swkn̓cut.
People gathered in Kelowna to witness the monument unveiling of a Chief known for his influential leadership and dedication to the central idea of peace between syilx people and settlers. Chief swkn̓cut was the Village Chief of the Mission Creek area when the Okanagan faced both an influx of settlers and the imposition of the Indian Act.
Chief Roxanne Lindley spoke to the resiliency of syilx people and was proud to share the pre-contact history of the Okanagan with everyone in attendance.
“syilx people were a self-sufficient and self-governing people prior to contact with settlers,” said Lindley. “We are very proud of our history and resiliency as syilx people and are happy to share this unveiling with everyone here today on National Indigenous Peoples Day.”
Mayor Colin Basran echoed the importance of Okanagan history and the relationship between the two Governments.
“We are proud to see this beautiful monument now overlooking the lake, which serves as a symbol of connection as we work to understand and preserve our shared history,” said Basran.
WFN commissioned the monument in 2012 from artist Crystal Przybille who also created the monument of Father Pandosy. swkn̓cut’s Chieftainship correlates with the arrival of Father Pandosy, who came to the Okanagan in poor health, fleeing American Mercenaries, and was nursed back to health by the syilx people.
The unveiling occurred on National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day dedicated to celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of Indigenous people.
The monument can be found at the south west corner of the Kelowna Visitors Centre overlooking the lake.