2015 got off to a great start for grizzly bears with the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) Chiefs passing a resolution calling for protection and recovery of grizzlies, known as kiʔlawnaʔ in the nsyilxcen language. Interestingly kiʔlawna is the root word for the town of Kelowna.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, ONA Chairman highlights, “Kiʔlawnaʔ has been an integral and critical part of the Syilx culture since time immemorial, it’s presence in Syilx Territory is an indicator of the health of the Syilx land and people. We will work to build the supportive relationships needed to ensure that kiʔlawnaʔ will remain and thrive in it’s natural environment”.
The ONA resolutions sets directives for their staff build to relationships and projects that support recovery of grizzly bears throughout Syilx Territory using best available information, practices and scientific knowledge in balance with traditional knowledge and protocols. The Chiefs Executive Council also called upon neighbouring Nations as well as the Province of BC, the Government of Canada, the State of Washington and the United States Government to implement prompt, cooperative actions for protection and recovery of Grizzly Bears in southern BC and northern United States.
The US federal government has announced it will soon initiate recovery efforts for the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone. So the ONA resolution is timely and reinforcing.
The ONA resolution is indicative of the growing recognition that trans-boundary, collaborative and prompt action is needed if we are to prevent grizzly bears from becoming locally extinct in southwest British Columbia - and if we want to bestow their legacy to our grandchildren.
The ONA Chiefs rightly point out that the grizzly bear is our “grade” on how well we are stewarding our environment and wildlife habitat. And their language is strikingly similar to that of the St’at’imc Chiefs’ Council which passed a similar resolution.
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For more information on the ONA Resolution: