About 30 paddlers took to Okanagan Lake to paddle from Kin beach to Komasket Park Friday. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

Okanagan Indian Band celebrates National Indigenous Day

As part of the celebrations, about 30 paddlers took a canoe journey from Kin Beach to Komasket Park

Okanagan Indian Band members paddled from Kin Beach to Komasket Park in celebration of National Indigenous Day Friday morning.

This canoe journey was one of several activities throughout the day in celebration of Sqilxw Day, the OKIB celebration of National Indigenous Day.

“We’ve talked about this for years and its actually going to happen today,” said Allan Louis, Deputy Chair of the First Nations Health Council and member of the Okanagan Indian Band.

Louis took a couple minutes to describe the significance and history behind the activity.

“We’re starting at one of the beaches that we always used to beach at (Kin Beach), because this used to be our main community here in Vernon and the Westside used to be a secondary hunting ground.”

He noted how common it used to be for their ancestors to travel that very route.

“One of the things we wanted to do was tie our history to today by following the path that we used to take years ago. So today, on Aboriginal Day, we get the chance to take that journey from (Kin) beach to the community we actually live in now,” said Louis.

Separated into three canoes, about 30 paddlers took part in the event. It kicked off at 8:15 a.m. with an opening ceremony and prayer led by Elder Madeline Gregorie. Drumming could be heard throughout the ceremony and continued as paddlers then took to the water and began their journey to Komasket Park beach, which is located near the 11 km mark on Westside Road.

Related: Billboard posted along B.C.’s Highway of Tears to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women

Related: Crime prevention funds aimed at Okanagan Indian Band

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OKIB Elder Madeline Gregorie kicked off the canoe journey with a prayer Friday morning. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

The Okanagan Indian band celebrated Sqilxw Day, a local celebration for Indigenous Day. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

Three canoes took to Okanagan Lake to paddle from Kin beach to Komasket Park Friday. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

OKIB Elder Madeline Gregorie kicked off the canoe journey with a prayer Friday morning. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

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