iʔ nqəlxʷskʷist swiws iʔ sqilxʷ t nḱnip is a project-based learning opportunity in which the SenPokChin students visited several cultural sites and learned the cultural history and practices of these important cultural sites. Students were asked to interpret their understanding of each placename through art. This exhibit is a compilation of SenPokChin student art recognizing their understanding of the importance of specific placenames within nḱmip.Sənpaqcin sənmamayaʔtn l nʕalmxənitkʷ ,swiws iʔ sqilxʷ, xʷic̓əc̓x iʔ sənmamayaʔtn swiws iʔ sqilxʷ, xʷic̓əc̓xiʔ sənmamayaʔtn tnqəlxʷskʷist.
(SenPokChin Elementary School is based in Oliver, BC and is operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band.)
nqilxʷcn təl nk̓mip sqilxʷ uɬ iʔ sənmycins iʔ lut iʔ x̌yaɬnxʷ ɬck̓ʷƛ̓aps Iʔ kc̓aws sənpaqcin ksuwitms ək̓əɬk̓ʷul̓ xiʔt nwist uɬ miʔs paʔx̌ iʔ ksmipnus iʔ aʔ cmamyaʔyam
(The school name, SenPokChin, is a nqəlxʷskʷist word from the Nk’mip people and is translated to mean “the light of a new day”.)
sənpaqcin k̓əɬ wiks iʔ sənmamayaʔtn mi cnk̓ʷin kmeɬ k̓əl nʕalmxnitkʷ sqilxʷ iliʔ iʔ ksmipnwiɬns iʔ scəcmalaʔ ixiʔ əctəlxus uɬ iʔ scəcmalaʔ iʔ ƛ̓xəxƛ̓aps nixʷ iʔ nk̓ʷcwixʷ
(The mission of SenPokChin is to strive to provide excellence in academic and cultural learning while fostering individual growth in each student. It is the vision for SenPokChin to be the school of choice for the Nk’mip people where the learning needs of all students are considered and parents and community members feel welcome. Our students have a strong desire to learn and have pride in their language, culture and heritage.)
In understanding SenPokChin student art about the significance of nqəlxʷskʷist (place names), it is necessary to have an understanding of how sqilxʷ t nḱmip (Okanagan of nḱmip) understand the land. For example the word for tmxʷulaxʷ (land) has the following understanding for sqilxʷ people.
tmxʷulaxʷ is made up of several words:
The first word that is contained in tmxʷulaxʷ is the word tmixʷ.
tmixʷ--refers to all of living things...humans, animals, birds, insects, plants, water, land air and every other living things. Other concepts contained in the word tmixʷ: soul, spirit, power, any living thing
tmixʷ also refers to a relationship between all living things. There is an inter-relationship and interconnection that exists that governs how all living things co-exist together. That interrelationship and interconnectedness between tmixʷ is the basis of our spirituality
tmixʷ also has very special spiritual meaning in terms of the interconnectedness of all living things. For example through training and ceremony sqilxʷ earn their sumixʷ. Which has been termed “spirit helper” but has much more meaning then the English translation. Through sumixʷ is where all sqilxʷ medicine and healing powers come from. In essence it is through tmixʷ that we achieve our greatest strength.
Another word contained in the word tmxʷulaxʷ is the word derived from xʷul.
The concept of xʷul can be understood as the energy of an object that is spinning. So one understanding of the concept of xʷul in tmxʷulaxʷ is the act of the earth spinning on its own accord.
Another concept of xʷul in the word tmxʷulaxʷ is the cyclic connection of the day to night, month to month and season to season that revolves seasonally and that all living things are interconnected to that seasonal and generational cyclic system.
The last concept in the word tmxʷulaxʷ refers to the part of the word ulaxʷ which refers to the physical properties and/or physical systems that make up the land.
Within the concept of ulaxʷ are the meanings that connect to the systems of habitat, ecosystem, climate, elevation and all other physical properties that enable tmixʷ to coexist together on the land.
The concept of tmxʷulaxʷ then refers to the tmixʷ place that continuously spins on from its own energy and continuously regenerates itself from day-to-day, season-to-season, year-to-year, generation-to-generation in an ongoing cycle of life on the land.
From sqilx understanding of tmxʷulaxʷ we can revisit the place names.
Upon visiting akɬlilxʷ (Spotted Lake), nʔaylintn (McIntyre Bluff), coyote’s sxʷulɬxʷ, and nq’aysxən (nk’mip pictograph site) and hearing the traditional chaptikʷ (stories) associated with the sites; the students were inspired to create art that reflected these stories, the landforms, bodies of water, and plants and animals of the area.
Limlimt to our Traditional Knowledge Keepers; Delphine Derrickson, Herman Edwards, Morning Dove Hall, Richard Armstrong, Pierre Kruger, Chad Eneas and Henry Michel who shared their teachings with the students. We also give thanks to Delphine Derrickson and Jeanette Armstrong for their language expertise and understandings that helped guide the gallery write up.