Nothing says fall like a grape harvest. The grape-growing land of the South Okanagan resides in the traditional territory of the OIB, and thanks to the agricultural practices and spirituality of the OIB, the land is fertile and there is a thriving wine market in the region.

Nothing says fall like a grape harvest. The grape-growing land of the South Okanagan resides in the traditional territory of the OIB, and thanks to the agricultural practices and spirituality of the OIB, the land is fertile and there is a thriving wine market in the region.

Explore the Legends of Fall in the South Okanagan

An insiders’ view of why the South Okanagan is the place to be this fall

By Rod Charles

Would it surprise you to know that some of the world’s oldest legendary historical and holy landmarks are wet, spotty or made of metamorphic rock and found right in the southern Okanagan region?

It’s easy for tourists to recognize holy ground when standing next to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Yet the fact is, a wall doesn’t have to be in Jerusalem to be holy and a building doesn’t have to be constructed by Romans to have historical significance.

Osoyoos has several important landmarks that may not be recognizable to most people but are important to the Osoyoos Indian Band, one of the first people to call the region home. Planning a trip to the Okanagan this fall? Add these stops to be inspired by Fall Legends.

nʕaylintn – McIntyre Bluff

McIntyre Bluff was previously named for a local settler, but it has been an important landmark for the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) and its Okanagan ancestors for millennia. Appropriately, it is now called nʕaylintn (pronounced nigh-lin-tin). Elder Sheri Stelkia hopes that future generations will see the land as her ancestors did, as the mother of all things.

“All living things come from the land and that’s what we are now,” says Stelkia, a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band. “This was a gift and it’s our responsibility.”

Feeling bold and fearless? This fall, challenge yourself to a leisurely hike to the top of nʕaylintn (673 metres, 2,208 feet) above the valley. We guarantee that you will love the colourful view once you have caught your breath.

Ha? Ki lil xw (or Kliluk or Spotted Lake)

Another legendary stop in Osoyoos is Spotted Lake, known to members of the Osoyoos Indian Band as Ha? Ki lil xw or Kliluk. Considered a sacred place of healing for centuries, Spotted Lake is so named because it is literally a body of water with several odd looking spots covering the surface. Many believe that each circle holds its own unique medicinal and healing properties. For this reason, Ha? Ki lil xw is a place of vital importance to the OIB. Ha? Ki lil xw is known for containing minerals like calcium, sodium sulphates and magnesium sulphate which create the look of the lake and gives it medicinal qualities. The spots are constantly changing throughout the summer as the minerals in the water change with evaporation. This causes the colours to vary from green to yellow.

Surrounding the lake are ceremonial cairns, including some buried underground that date to ancient times.

Spotted Lake is located in the South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area. To reach the lake, follow Highway 3 west out of Osoyoos for (10 km, 6 miles). It can be photographed and admired easily from Highway 3, though access to it is tightly controlled by the OIB.

Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre

A museum doesn’t have to house a Van Gogh painting to have a deep cultural impact.

In Osoyoos, the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre (pronounced in-ka-meep) tells the story of the Okanagan Nation, of which the OIB is a part.

For Taylor Baptiste, an Indigenous Education Advocate with Southern Okanagan Secondary School, OIB member and artist, the cultural centre is a direct link between her past, present and her future.

Her grandfather went to the Nk’Mip day school and excelled in the arts, painting, sketching, leatherwork and carvings. She continues his tradition of artistry.

“It was very special to have my drawings displayed along with the sketches done by my grandfather. I had grown up looking at what he had done my whole life,” she says.

In the fall and winter months the centre is self-guided. The centre features a 67-acre nature interpretive facility and has an indoor and outdoor gallery, inspiring educational displays, multi-media theatre experiences and self-guided tours through the desert along a beautiful 1.5-kilometre wooden boardwalk.

Experience the legends of Sen’klip (the Coyote) at one of the two multi-sensory theatres. Discover the desert ecology and wildlife in the “Living Land” display. Gutsier guests can head to “Critter Corner” and look into the eyes of a Western Rattlesnake and a Great Basin Desert Snake.

Desert Centre admissions go to the Osoyoos Desert Society, a nonprofit society dedicated to saving British Columbia’s biologically rich habitats.

NK’Mip Cellars Celebrates Harvest Season

Nothing says fall like a grape harvest. The grape-growing land of the South Okanagan resides in the traditional territory of the OIB. Thanks to the agricultural practices and spirituality of the OIB, the land is fertile and there is a thriving wine market in the region.

Fall brings legendary excitement to the wine region with the annual grape harvest a time of preparation and anticipation for winemakers. NK’Mip Cellars winemaker Justin Hall says the process of harvesting grapes “is like a new-born baby again every year.”

“You get all this excitement going. You’re wondering what you’re going to get when harvest comes,” says Hall, who works under senior winemaker Randy Picton to create NK’Mip’s award-winning wines.

“Everything is about the fall. That’s your crunch time. You’re looking constantly at the fall, at the fall.”

Not surprisingly, NK’Mip is home to some of the finest vineyards in the province, gifting Hall and Picton with outstanding grapes to spin their magic from barrel to bottle to glass.

NK’Mip Cellars, noted for being North America’s first Aboriginal owned and operated winery, is not only a great place to purchase outstanding wine but also a living example of how land has been passed down to our generation in perfect condition.

The South Okanagan towns of Oliver and Osoyoos have turned harvest season into a special time for area locals who want to unwind and have fun. If you want an insiders’ view and enjoy the local scene, then the South Okanagan is the place to be this fall.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

For Taylor Baptiste, an Indigenous Education Advocate with Southern Okanagan Secondary School, OIB member and artist, the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos is a direct link between her past, present and her future: Her grandfather went to the Nk’Mip day school and excelled in the arts, painting, sketching, leatherwork and carvings; she continues his tradition of artistry.

For Taylor Baptiste, an Indigenous Education Advocate with Southern Okanagan Secondary School, OIB member and artist, the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos is a direct link between her past, present and her future: Her grandfather went to the Nk’Mip day school and excelled in the arts, painting, sketching, leatherwork and carvings; she continues his tradition of artistry.

Explore the Legends of Fall in the South Okanagan

“All living things come from the land and that’s what we are now,” says Elder Sheri Stelkia, a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band. “This was a gift and it’s our responsibility.”

“All living things come from the land and that’s what we are now,” says Elder Sheri Stelkia, a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band. “This was a gift and it’s our responsibility.”

Explore the Legends of Fall in the South Okanagan

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Share your opinion with editor@langleyadvancetimes.com
LETTER: Langley church protecting religious freedom by allowing crowds

Letter writer encourages people to pray to put an end to the pandemic

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (Black Press Media files)
Judge hears Langley development case that could end in mayor, councillors booted out of council

The conflict of interest case was launched by local voters a year ago

More than 2,300 BC Hydro customers in Langley were without power as a windstorm moved through the community on Nov. 30, 2020. (BC Hydro)
UPDATE: Power restored to 2,300 hydro customers caused by windstorm Langley

Three separate outages were reported related to weather

Stacey Wakelin is running for a seat on the Langley school board left vacant by Megan Dykeman’s election as MLA (special to Langley Advance Times)
Wakelin announces run for Langley school board

Activist seeks seat left vacant by Megan Dykeman’s election as MLA

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
32 family members respond to Abbotsford care home’s plea for staffing help during COVID-19 outbreak

Menno Home asks for relief workers for food service, laundry and housekeeping

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Most Read