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

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Do you know someone who should not be driving?

We are currently living about 10 years longer than our ability to drive safely.

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: Time to slow down to speed up

In a society where we learn (are forced?) to multitask like crazy

A COVID-19 exposure has been reported at Shawnigan Lake School. (Citizen file photo)
UPDATED: Island Health reports COVID-19 exposure at Shawnigan Lake School

Shawnigan Lake School has been added to the list of schools in… Continue reading

Peas are great to grow in the garden, but a trellis for them in an A frame shape will offer more portability and wind resistance. (Citizen file)
Mary Lowther column: Making a foldable pea trellis on winter agenda

My previous methods required starting anew every spring

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Most Read