Caretakers say it’s a crucial time to protect kɬúsx̌nítkʷ, the ‘heart’ of syilx homelands

December 5, 2022
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Indiginews – December 5, 2022

Located in the “heart” of syilx homelands, kɬúsx̌nítkʷ (Okanagan Lake) is a lifeline for the people, plants and animals who depend on its nourishment.

The original stewards of the lake kept it pristine. However, with the onset of water pollution, shoreline erosion, climate change and the presence of microplastics — caretakers face a new set of challenges as they look towards protecting kɬúsx̌nítkʷ for future generations.

Following a water ceremony on the shore of kɬúsx̌nítkʷ in September, Elder K̓ninm̓tm̓ taʔ n̓q̓ʷic̓tn̓s Wilfred ‘Grouse’ Barnes of Westbank First Nation said he has noticed “a lack of care” towards the lake and encouraged people to take more action to protect it.

At the nk’mip (Osoyoos Lake) Water Forum in October, syilx and non-syilx groups came together to discuss the protection of kɬúsx̌nítkʷ and how threats to the lake and its shorelines can be mitigated.