Sunday, July 24th 2022, 1:40 pm - “It is sacred and it’s something that's important...it is a protector of the water," states Bruce Manuel of the Upper Nicola Indian Band.
For decades in British Columbia, a creature described as more than 15 metres in length, dark in colour and said to move at incredible speeds has allegedly been spotted in Okanagan Lake.
Okanagan Lake is the largest of five interconnected freshwater fjord lakes in the Syilx territory. To them the creature in the lake is nx̌ax̌aitkʷ, pronounced "n-ha-ha-eet-kw." The name translates to "a sacred being in the water."
However, for years the creature was referred to as the Ogopogo. The word is everywhere in the community with branding and advertising.
“They [gave] it a made-up, nonsense name. Ogopogo, which has no relevance, no meaning anywhere," said Bruce Manuel of the Upper Nicola Indian Band, in an interview with Jaclyn Whittal, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. He stated that "it is sacred and it’s something that's important...it is a protector of the water."
Upon consideration of the sacredness of Nx̌ax̌aitk, council members in the City of Vernon transferred the Ogopogo copyright it held for 65 years to the eight-member Okanagan Nation Alliance in 2021.
For the full story on the creature formerly known as the Ogopogo, watch the video above.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article misidentified the First Nation to which Bruce Manuel belongs. We have since corrected the error.