Okanagan of North America

People Group Info

Total Population: 6,000

ROP3 Code: 107611
IMB Affinity Group: American Peoples
Affinity Bloc: North American Peoples
People Cluster: North American Indigenous
Language: Okanagan - (oka)
Religion: Christianity
Country of Origin: United States

Photo of Okanagan Elder Maggie Kruger.

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Majority Located Where

  Kelowna, BC - 3,900

  Okanogan, WA - 2,100

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Brief Profile

The Okanagan (self name Syilx) are a Native American people who reside in Washington state on the Colville Indian Reservation, where they are sometimes known as Colvilles. They are also a First Nations people who reside in British Columbia, Cananda. The various Okanagan communities in British Columbia and Washington form the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

According to the Okanagan Nation Alliance website, "The word “Syilx” takes its meaning from several different images. The root word “Yil” refers to the action of taking any kind of many-stranded fiber, like hemp, and rolling it and twisting it together to make one unit, or one rope. It is a process of making many into one. “Yil” is a root word which forms the basis of many of our words for leadership positions, as well. Syilx contains a command for every individual to continuously bind and unify with the rest."

Almost all Okanagan people speak English today, but some Okanagans, especially elders, also speak their native Okanagan language.

Prayer Points

  • Pray God will provide for the physical and spiritual needs of the Okanagan people.
  • Pray Christians who encounter Okanagan people will share Christ both in word and deed.


Global Recordings Network
Native Americans - Worldview and Trends
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