Okanagan people

Okanagan people
Okanagan family, ca. 1918
Regions with significant populations
 Canada ( British Columbia),
 United States ( Washington)

English, Okanagan (Nsyilxcn)

Related ethnic groups

Colville, Sanpoil, Nespelem, Sinixt, Wenatchi, Entiat, Methow, Palus, Sinkiuse-Columbia, and the Nez Perce of Chief Joseph's band

The Okanagan people, also spelled Okanogan, are a First Nations and Native American people whose traditional territory spans the U.S.-Canada boundary in Washington state and British Columbia. Known in their own language as the ʔukʷnaʔqínx, they are part of the Interior Salish ethnological and linguistic groupings, the Okanagan are closely related to the Spokan, Sinixt, Nez Perce, Pend Oreille, Shuswap and Nlaka'pamux peoples in the same region.



When the Oregon Treaty partitioned the Pacific Northwest in 1846, the portion of the tribe remaining in what became Washington Territory reorganized under Chief Tonasket as a separate group from the majority of the Okanagans, whose communities remain in Canada. The Okanagan Tribal Alliance, however, also incorporates the American branch of the Okanagans, who are part of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville, a multi-tribal government in Washington state.

The bounds of Okanagan territory are roughly the basin of Okanagan Lake and the Okanagan River, plus the basin of the Similkameen River to the west of the Okanagan valley, and some of the uppermost valley of the Nicola River. The various Okanagan communities in British Columbia and Washington form the Okanagan Nation Alliance, a border-spanning organization which includes American-side Okanogans resident in the Colville Indian Reservation, where the Okanagan people are sometimes known as Colvilles.

A group of Okanagan people in the Nicola Valley, which is at the northwestern perimeter of Okanagan territory, are known in their dialect as the Spaxomin, and are joint members in a historic alliance with neighbouring communities of the Nlaka'pamux in the region known as the Nicola Country, which is named after the 19th Century chief who founded the alliance, Nicola. This alliance today is manifested in the Nicola Tribal Association.



See also

Further reading

  • Boas, Franz (1917). Folk-tales of Salishan and Sahaptin tribes. Published for the American Folk-Lore Society by G.E. Stechert & Co.. Available online through the Washington State Library's Classics in Washington History collection Includes: Okanagon tales by James A. Teit and Okanagon tales by Marian K. Gould.
  • Carstens, Peter. The Queen's People: A Study of Hegemony, Coercion, and Accommodation Among the Okanagan of Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991. ISBN 0802058930
  • Robinson, Harry, and Wendy C. Wickwire. Nature Power: In the Spirit of an Okanagan Storyteller. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1992. ISBN 1550540602

External links

Legends and traditional stories

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Look at other dictionaries:

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