‘The Salmon People’ focus of museum exhibit

A postcard illustrating the Okanogan Borderland Historical Society's latest exhibit at the Oroville Depot Museum, "The Salmon People, Stories Tell the Past." The exhibit opens May 5.

A postcard illustrating the Okanogan Borderland Historical Society’s latest exhibit at the Oroville Depot Museum, “The Salmon People, Stories Tell the Past.” The exhibit opens May 5. OBHS/submitted

“The Salmon People: Stories Tell the Past” is the focus of the 2014 exhibit at the Oroville Depot Museum. The peoples who spoke dialects of the Okanogan language lived from Wenatchee to Endby, B.C. They have a story of their own prior to the coming of European settlement.

The word Okanogan has over 50 spellings. It was in the 1930’s when Okanagan was officially changed in Washington to be spelled Okanogan. However, Okinagan, Okanegan, Oakanagan are just a few of the spellings.

Oroville’s Borderlands Historical Society is working both with Colville Confederated Tribes and Okanagan Nation Alliance to assemble what is believed to be the first exhibit featuring the story of the Okanogan’s prior to European contact.

For the last two years, fourth graders from Oroville Elementary have collected tules and made mats as part of this upcoming display.

The exhibit will only give a glimmer of a much larger and wider story of their life throughout this area. Native stories tell of the last ice age, of conflicts and challenges, of daily life, ceremonies and beliefs. Included will be stories from Mourning Dove and other native storytellers.

The society is still seeking native Okanogan artifacts on loan for the summer season. Please contact Kay Sibley at 509-476-2476 if you have possible items for the display. Currently, four programs are being developed slated for the summer to highlight aspects of the culture. Watch for notices on times, dates and topics.

Books written by native authors will also be featured in the Visitor Information Center.

The exhibit opens May 5 and closes on Sept. 13. The depot and Visitor Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

If you wish to volunteer to be part of the team of hosts for the coming summer, whether it bis a part day a week, or two days a month please call the above number and leave a message. There will be training, including notes on the exhibit before the season begins.

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