Okanagan College Indigenization



indigenization, painted horses

Way’ (Greetings) Weytk

Way' is the Okanagan-Syilx greeting and connotes an acknowledgement that what has happened is done and everything is now possibility.Weytk is the Secwepemc greeting.

Welcome to the Okanagan College Indigenization project.

Okanagan College, as well as the Okanagan Valley and Okanagan River, takes its name from the Okanagan-Syilx people and campuses are situated in Okanagan-Syilx and Secwepemc homelands.

Okanagan College respects and acknowledges the Indigenous people in whose homeland each campus is located. Kelowna, Penticton, Summerland, and Vernon campuses are in Okanagan-Syilx territory. Salmon Arm Campus is in Secwepemc territory, and Revelstoke Campus is located where Okanagan-Syilx, Secwepemc and Ktunaxa homelands converge.
Okanagan College Indigenization looks to connect each campus to respective Indigenous peoples’ knowledge, language and active presence.This base of strong First Nations’ presence and diversity will extend outward to welcome and acknowledge all Indigenous students, staff and faculty and all connected to Okanagan College are aware of the language, knowledge and continuous existence of the Indigenous peoples.


communities region map

 Okanagan-Syilx Communities:
Secwepemc Communities:
 Westbank First Nation
Okanagan Indian Band
Penticton Indian Band
Osoyoos Indian Band
Lower Similkameen Indian Band
Upper Similkameen Indian Band
Upper Nicola Indian Band
Adams Lake Indian Band
Neskonlith Indian Band
Little Shuswap Indian Band
Splatsin Indian Band


As part of Okanagan College’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020, Okanagan College Governance and Leadership have expressed a commitment to working with, and learning from, the Indigenous Community. As a result of this commitment, the Okanagan College Indigenization Task Force was created with the commitment to collaborate with Okanagan regional area Indigenous communities, student learners (past, present and future) and Elders.

At this point the Okanagan College Indigenization Project is in its engagement phase and looks to respectfully and inclusively engage Indigenous communities and organizations in projects that meet the educational needs and aspirations of Indigenous communities and is informed by Indigenous vision and knowledge. This Indigenization journey begins with meaningful relationships with the Indigenous people in whose homeland each campus is situated. Outcomes envisioned are a Kelowna campus with Okanagan-Syilx language, knowledge and presence that is inclusive and welcoming to all, and a Salmon Arm campus with Secwepemc language, knowledge and presence that is inclusive and welcoming to all.

Okanagan College created the Indigenization Task force to demonstrate its commitment to Indigenization. The Task force is comprised of individuals from various departments, both faculty and staff, and is led by Okanagan-Syilx educator Dr. Bill Cohen. The Indigenization plan aims to engage and enhance our ties with our Indigenous community members; strengthen the physical, cultural and spiritual spaces at OC; increase Indigenous knowledge and culture within our curriculum, as well as identify potential changes to College policies, structure and processes.


intertribal dancers

Contact Information
Bill Cohen (Project Lead): bcohen@okanagan.bc.ca