Water was used to bring 166 women to the shores of Okanagan Lake to celebrate International Women’s Day and the water that surrounds us.
“Water is sacred,” said Taryn Skalbania, Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance director.
“When settlers arrived, you could drink the water from our creeks. Now, in 50 years, you can’t drink the water from our lakes or creeks or eat the vegetation on our lakeshore.”
Today, the women who attended the first annual tea and bannock celebration in Peachland, are trying to do something about it, with a Syilx water declaration that they hope will inspire other communities to do the same.
“We are declaring that water is a universal part of us and sacred, and we are declaring our support and protection of it and I think it’s a nice little way to share a day with women,” said Skalbania.
And revelations washed over the crowd as to just how connected women are to water.
“As women, it was mentioned today that we all carry our babies in our water in our womb, so it’s our first beginnings of our life. And then it becomes part of our life,” said Corinne Derrickson of Westbank First Nation.
“A lot of Indigenous people don’t have clean water in Canada, so water is a very important source that we need to protect.”
Trickling through the event were speeches, dances and song.
“The song that Delphine and I sung together celebrates n’ha-a-itk, the spirit of Lake Okanagan and also with a Scottish folk song that represents Delphine and I’s lineage and also ties us to this place,” said Heather Pawsey, an opera singer.