The Okanagan Indian Band invites local members and the public to attend the reopening ceremony of the newly built cultural gazebo in Komasket Park on Saturday, May 28.
Komasket Park, which is in Syilx Territory, is on the west side of Lake Okanagan. It is just off Westside Road, about 11 miles south of the Highway 97 junction behind O’Keefe Ranch. Visitors must turn around at the OKIB public works building to get to the park.
The cultural gazebo is located in the pre-contact village of Syilx and a fishing place and can accommodate approximately 300 people.
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The gazebo is a circular, roofed open-air building that offers bleach-style seating that runs around the interior of the structure on four levels.
“The gazebo is a space that builds a sense of community, promotes meetings, inspires health and well-being, and promotes the values of the OKIB community,” said Nick Nilsen, OKIB’s communications specialist.
Many of the huge logs and timber used to build the new gazebo were recovered from the original cultural gazebo, which was built in the 1980s and decommissioned in 2018 due to safety concerns.
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The original gazebo served for 30 years as a gathering place for Syilxes, who used the space for pows, ceremonies, youth and elder meetings, cultural events and workshops.
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“With the previous gazebo, so many memories have been created and many great memories will be created here,” said Chief Byron Louis of OKIB. “It’s good to see the gazebo rebuilt and up and running.”
The reopening ceremony is an all-day event that starts at 10:00 and ends at 19:00. It begins with the chief’s remarks and advice, as well as the elder’s introductory prayer. A blacksmithing ceremony will also take place.
Lunch with an Indian taco will be accompanied by a powwow ceremony. There will also be a community fashion show and evening entertainment with storytelling and music.
Vendors and stalls will also be available during the day, as well as activities for young people, such as language games and reading books.
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