Okanagan College to open new $40,000 Indigenous garden

Okanagan College

from INFOnews.ca: 

Okanagan College will have a new addition to its Kelowna campus this summer – an Indigenous garden.

The $40,000 garden will have a prominent location just north of the Centre for Learning Building, according to an Okanagan College media release, one of the busiest buildings for students and staff.

The 6,000 square foot garden will have over 50 plants, including Saskatoon berry bushes.

The na’?k’?ulam?n garden is meant to show the relationship between nature and Indigenous people. The name is a Nsyilxcen word meaning “the things that we do.”

“This relationship we have with each other and the natural environment is rooted in being respectful and thankful,” Aboriginal Services Coordinator Anthony Isaac says in the release. “We make offerings before we harvest, saying our thanks to the plants or animals for giving their lives for us and never taking too much.”

According to Schneider, there will be a pathway running through the garden, along with an entrance and various signage.

The garden will be an example of how to incorporate local native plants. Because the plants are indigenous to the Okanagan, they require very little maintenance and the garden will be self-sustaining.

Schneider says even though they are native plants, some weren’t easy to acquire.

“We’ve narrowed it down to three garden centres, I believe one of them will be able to provide all the plants we need,” Schneider said.

The College says to ensure that Indigenous history and culture is depicted accurately, it is working closely with local elders, historians and members of surrounding first nations communities.

Okanagan College received a $5,000 Canada 150 grant to help pay for the garden.

Read more here.