LETTER: Support for Marilyn James

I’m writing in reply to the November articles concerning Marilyn James, the Sinixt reburial at Slocan Pool.

I’m writing in reply to the November articles concerning Marilyn James, the Sinixt reburial at Slocan Pool and the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s response.

I was startled to read that the ONA “gladly received all people of Sinixt descent at the ceremony” and that Marilyn James “was welcome.” The ONA representative used the term “our ancestors” to refer to the Sinixt woman whose bones were reinterred.

I have lived in Sinixt traditional territory for almost 25 years. In my work to honour the First Nations of my chosen homeplace, my interactions have primarily been with Marilyn James, who, until she recently resigned, was not only the appointed spokeperson for the Sinixt, but also a tireless champion for her people in Canada.

We all recognize Marilyn when we see her picture, when we see her speak, because she’s part of our current community.

Any familiarity most of us settlers have with Sinixt culture, language, traditions and the current politics facing this so-called “extinct” people, has come through Marilyn’s work. She has been, and undoubtedly will continue to be, an active protector of the water, land, history and future of this region. Until recently, there has been no sign of the ONA participating in reburials, welcomings, talks, events, etc.

I am curious to know in what way the ONA has “long collaborated… on the protection and repatriation of Sinixt remains?” The 64 remains Sinixt remains that “have been repatriated” since 1990 were repatriated by Marilyn James, at the request of the Sinixt elder Eva Orr. When “honouring the wishes of some of the descendants” excludes the main person previously involved, there is a serious problem.

No disrespect intended toward the Okanagan people, but I’m puzzled by their sudden interest in Sinixt territory. And shouldn’t the Sinixt be “gladly receiving” and welcoming them, not the other way around?

I support Marilyn’s work because her values and priorities echo mine. I also honour and support the work of other First Nations in their traditional territories. I believe it is time for everybody, settler and First Nations, to stand behind the Sinixt in reclaiming their presence in Canada.

K.L. Kivi

Blewett

Just Posted

Campbell scores in OT as Leafs outlast Nitehawks 7-6

Nelson gave up three leads against rival Beaver Valley

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Applications sought for annual Nelson heritage award

Deadline for submissions is Oct. 30.

Playmor Junction daycare expansion faces opposition

Neighbours upset with rezoning application, citing traffic, noise and concerns about future uses

Trafalgar Thunder take gold in Oliver

The Thunder knocked out the top seed in the semis en route to gold

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Most Read