Okanagan Nation gets equal voting rights

March 3, 2022

Times Chronicle – March 3, 2022

The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) was granted equal voting powers and governance by the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB)’s three regional boards.  ONA has held a seat on the water board since 2006 but were previously limited in their ability to vote on financial matters. 

ONA Director, Chris Dickenson, says he’s pleased that the ONA now has equal voting rights with the regional districts, allowing Indigenous voices of the Okanagan to be heard.  “We need to improve the way siwɬkʷ (water) is managed within the Syilx territory so it will be there for our future generations and all living things,” said Dickenson.  

Osoyoos Mayor and Water Board Chair, Sue McKortoff, is pleased with the arrangement as well, adding her support and OBWB’s support to build a better relationship with the ONA, describing it as one important step forward in their goal of reconciliation in the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and Syilx rights.

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