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Rogers celebrates local Okanagan Indigenous artists at new Customer Solution Centre in Kelowna

September 18, 2020

Articles

We acknowledge and respect that this land where the Kelowna Customer Solution sits is the traditional and unceded territory of the n̓syílxcn speaking people, the Syilx and Okanagan, who have resided here since time immemorial and will continue to be here for many generations to come.

As part of  its commitment to building an inclusive culture at Rogers that celebrates the diversity of every one of  its team members, Rogers has opened a  unique meeting  room inside its brand-new  Customer Solution Centre in Kelowna called the Downie-Wenjack Legacy Space.

In partnership with the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund, the space is dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of Indigenous art, history, and culture, with our teams and community members. By the end of 2021, there will be more than 350 new Rogers employees in Kelowna, with the new site opening its doors when safe to do so.

“This space will support increased employment opportunities for the greater community, while also recognizing the importance of honouring Syilx Indigenous heritage, culture, and art,” says Chief Christopher Derickson, Westbank First Nation. “I look forward to seeing the benefits that result from the Downie-Wenjack Indigenous Legacy Program within our community, and its continued extension across Canada.”

The Kelowna space features art from Okanagan Indigenous artists, including Sheldon Pierre Louis, member of the Syilx Nation and a Councillor at Okanagan Indian Band who designed the centrepiece of the space, the stunning table titled The Dream in a Spiral.

“It is my perspective/interpretation of one of our traditional Captikwl (oral stories) about how “Tuttle Set the Animals Free,” says Sheldon Pierre Louis. “It speaks to the power and guidance of dreams as well it speaks to how we as people attained the ability to dream and to follow our dreams.”

Janine Marie Lott, Member of Westbank First Nation, contributed a mask, titled N’ha-a-itk Sacred Water Spirit, a hard-shell gourd mask, carved, wood burnt, ink dyed with pine-needle coil, horsehair, stone and shell beads.

“Okanagan Lake is the home of N’ha-a-itk,” says Janine Marie Lott.  “In our way of knowing N’ha-a-itk nurtures and protects the sacred waters and all life forms sustained within. When entering the home of N’ha-a-itk we take great care to honour and respect this space.”

Coralee Miller, member of Westbank First Nation and a painter created a piece called Canoe Journey, saying, “The painting is made to represent our wish for partnership and reconciliation by acknowledging and validating our ways of knowing.”

The first Rogers Downie Wenjack Legacy Space opened in February 2019, at the Rogers head office in Toronto, featuring art from Indigenous artists, including Muralist and Storyteller Philip Cote.

The Downie Wenjack Legacy Space in Kelowna is included in this video showcasing the new Customer Solution Centre.