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Upper Nicola Band

way̓ p‿yʕayʕát (Hello everyone)
u climt p‿cyʕap (We are glad you all have arrived)

A strong flourishing community in harmony with our tmixʷ

Upper Nicola is a proud, inclusive Syilx community working together to promote suxʷtxtəm, teach our captíkʷł and committed to building foundations through EnoWkinWixw.

About Upper Nicola Band

A strong, flourishing community in harmony with our tmixw.

Upper Nicola is the only Syilx (Okanagan) community in the Nicola Valley. In the 18th century, ancestors of Upper Nicola permanently inhabited the Upper Nicola and Salmon River watersheds as a result of the Fish Lake Accord with the Kamloops Shuswap tribe. The agreement was made in the late 1700s between the Chiefs of the T’kemlups Secwepemc and the Syilx to end wars between these two communities, where the Syilx were granted the former Secwepemc territory in the vicinity of Douglas Lake.

Around the Community

Within the two communities of spaxmn (Douglas Lake) and n̓łq̓iłəml̓x (Quilchena), there are 138 residential homes. Approximately 363 (37%) of our members live on-reserve . The UNB Housing Society is working on developing more housing to allow UNB members to move home. We are working to develop economic development opportunities to diversify our economy.

The kwU StemtimA/ are working to reassert and assume our full inherent Indigenous jurisdiction as an Aboriginal (S. 35) right in Canada, over our relations, defined as all children, families and community members living on and off reserve.

Chief and Council are working to have deeper understanding of our Inherent rights and aboriginal title, and will be working to support UNB citizens, the rights holders, in building a vision for effective self-governance.

We are a proud, inclusive Syilx community working together to promote suxʷtxtəm, teach our captíkʷł and committed to building foundations through Enowkinwí.

Teachings from one our captíkʷł (oral stories, the basis of our laws) outlines our values, protocols and our laws. See below one of our captíkʷł

Oral story of the Four Food Chiefs “How Food Was Given”

In the world before this world, before there were people, and before things were like they are now, everyone was alive and walking around like we do.
All creation was talking about the coming changes to their world. They had been told that soon a new kind of people would be living on this earth.
Even they, the Animals and Plant people, would be changed.
They had to decide how the People-To-Be would live and what they would eat.

They held many meetings and talked for a long time about what the People-To-Be would need to live. All of the Chiefs thought and thought “What can we give to the People-To-Be to eat that is already here on earth?
There seems to be no answer”.

Finally, the three other Chiefs said to Skemxist, “You are the wisest and the oldest among us. You tell us what you are going to do.”
Skemxist said, “Since you have all placed your trust in me, I will have to do the best I can.” He thought for a long time and finally he said, “I will give myself, and all the animals that I am Chief over, to be food for the People-to-be.” Then he said to N̓tytyix, “What will you do?” N̓tytyix answered, “You are indeed the wisest among us.

“I will also give myself and all the things that live in the water as food for the People-to-be.”

sp̓iƛ̓m̓, who was Chief of All-the-Roots-Under-the-Ground said, “I will do the same.” Síyaʔ was last. He said, “I will do the same.” All the good things that grows above the ground will be the food for the People-to-be.

Chief Skemxist was happy because there would be enough food for the People-to-be, “Now I will lay my life down to make these things happen.” Because he was the greatest chief and had given his life, all of the People-That-Were (the animal people) gathered and sang songs to bring him back to life. That was how they helped heal each other in that world. They all took turns singing, but Skemxist did not come back to life. Finally, Fly came along. He sang, “You laid your body down. You laid your life down.” His song was powerful, Skemxist came back to life.

Then Fly told the four Chiefs, “When the People-to-be are here and they take your body for food, they will sing this song. They will cry their thanks with this song.” Then Skemxist spoke for all the chiefs, “From now on when the People-to-be come, everything will have its own song. The People-to-be will use these songs to help each other as you have helped me.”

The Four Food Chiefs Are:

Sp̓iƛ̓m̓ (Bitter root)

Describes relationships and the inter connectedness among tmixʷ including but not limited to the people, animals, plants, the land, and the air and water. This provides the “context” in which individuals, families, and communities endeavor to live in harmony with each other and with their relatives – the animals, plants, and the land.

  • Relationship-oriented
  • Aware of all the connections
  • Inclusive
  • Takes others into consideration

Síyaʔ (Saskatoon Berry)

Represents all the things that grow above the ground. This chief embodies the spirit of creative energy, vision, and innovation. The perspective here can be associated with the enthusiasm and creativity that is often found in youth.

  • Innovation/creative-oriented
  • Thinks we CAN do it
  • Nothing is impossible
  • Thinks outside the box

Ntytyix (King Salmon)

Is chief of all creatures in the water and he exemplifies action. The perspective here is one of determining the objective or aim, getting prepared and then taking action. This chief is often considered to be associated with male perspective.

  • Action-oriented
  • Just do it
  • Finds way through barriers
  • Efficient

Skemxist (Black Bear)

Represents traditions and cultural practices. The concept of reflection and contemplation on “what is,” informed by an understanding of the past and how that is connected to the future. It is this understanding that then shapes development of protocols

  • Tradition-oriented
  • Knowledge keeper/teacher
  • Contemplation/thinking
  • Ties everything into culture

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