Shelley Boyd with pictographs.

Celebrating the Sinixt

An evening of history, stories, and song to celebrate the cultural presence of the Sinixt in the Kootenays.

Touchstones Nelson and Selkirk College are joining forces to present the event Celebrating the Sinixt: An evening of History, Language and Song, happening at the Shambhala performance hall on Thursday April 9th at 7:30pm. This landmark event will celebrate the history of the Sinixt people and the revival of their cultural presence in the Kootenays over the last thirty-five years. Many local residents know that the Sinixt were declared extinct by the Federal government in 1956, but how many locals have heard the Sinixt language spoken, let alone sung?

“The story of the Sinixt is one that needs to be told,” says Jessie Demers, programming coordinator and co-curator at Touchstones Nelson. “I think our community is keen to learn about the history of Sinixt presence on this land, and to celebrate Sinixt culture”.

The event will begin with drumming and prayer, followed by the 35 minute film The Journey Upstream by Erica Kowz, which documents the Sinixt return to their ancestral lands. Lori Barkley will talk about how and why the government-declared extinction happened and continues to persist, and Eileen Delehanty Pearkes will speak about where and how the Sinixt lived and thrived.

Sinixt language will be shared by Shelly Boyd (Inchelium Language House) and LaRae Wiley (Salish School of Spokane). LaRae will then show her mastery of the language by singing contemporary pop songs in Sinixt. The event will be closed with drumming.

The event is one of several programs happening in conjunction with the exhibition unlimited edition, a collection of Indigenous and Inuit prints on loan from the Kamloops Art Gallery, curated by Tania Willard, Aboriginal Curator in Residence at the Kamloops Art Gallery. This is a unique opportunity to learn about and experience Sinixt culture first hand.

Space is limited, so people are encouraged to buy their tickets early. Tickets are $15, $12 for students, seniors and underemployed people. $10 for members of Touchstones Nelson. Tickets can be bought at Touchstones Nelson (502 Vernon St. at Ward St.) or at the door. The Shambhala Performance Hall is located at 702 10th St. at Elwyn St. Doors open at 7pm and the event runs from 7:30-9pm.

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