Category: News

okanagan vacation

6 Ways to Make Your Indigenous Vacay in the Okanagan More Meaningful

The drive from Vancouver into the South Okanagan Valley is one of the most breathtaking in Canada. It shuttles you through Manning Provincial Park and between the peaks of the Cascade Mountains, delivering you to the heart of British Columbia’s picturesque desert landscape, teeming with vineyards, lakes, and never-ending views.

“When you spend five years on Fogo Island where the majority of days are either cold, windy or foggy, save for that one day in August where summer happens, 14 degrees feels pretty darn good.”

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Indigenous food

Osoyoos Indian Band develop a place with purpose

On an overcast but warm September morning, Dyawen Louis’ voice echoes over the southern Okanagan Valley. In the Nsyilxcen language, the interpreter from the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre sings our tour group a traditional anthem for the Okanagan or syilx people who have lived and travelled across B.C’s Interior for thousands of years.

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Aboriginal Food and Wine

What wine do you pair with bison rib-eye steak? In keeping with an Indigenous theme, the natural match is the 2016 Merriym Red Meritage ($55) from Nk'[Mip Cellars in Osoyoos. The best place to enjoy this duo is The Bear, The Fish, The Root and The Berry, the new restaurant at Spirit Ridge Resort in Osoyoos.

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Spirit Ridge: The Next Chapter

At Spirit Ridge the story continues to unfold beautifully.  Their new restaurant, The Bear, the Fish, The Root & The Berry, is a huge hit with both critics and patrons. Named in honor of the Okanagan people’s idea of the Four Food Chiefs, this legend, or chaptik as it’s called in Okanagan, tells the story of the skəmíst (bear), ntytyix (fish), speetlum (bitteroot), seeya (berry) and how they worked together to feed the People-To-Be.

“When you spend five years on Fogo Island where the majority of days are either cold, windy or foggy, save for that one day in August where summer happens, 14 degrees feels pretty darn good.”

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From the North Atlantic to the South Okanagan

It’s a chilly May morning on the patio at The Bear, the Fish, the Root and the Berry, and while a few of us are huddled and wrapped in blankets, chef Murray McDonald, wearing only a short sleeve shirt and jeans, leans back in his chair and offers a hearty chuckle.

“When you spend five years on Fogo Island where the majority of days are either cold, windy or foggy, save for that one day in August where summer happens, 14 degrees feels pretty darn good.”

Read More »

Indigenous culture, tradition explored in new restaurant

The Okanagan legend of the four food chiefs is taking form at Spirit Ridge with their new restaurant which explores, shares and honours Indigenous cuisine and culture.

The Bear, The Fish, The Root and The Berry, is a curious name to the uninitiated, said Murray McDonald, the new executive chef.

Based on four food chiefs, the Black Bear, the Salmon, the Bitterroot and the Saskatoon Berry, the restaurant explores more than just the name.

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Inspired by Legends

Long ago, when the Okanagan people wintered in the place where Spirit Ridge Resort now stands, they gathered around campfires and told stories. These were known as Chaptiks and were passed down from generation to generation. Through Chaptiks, the young learned their people’s history and legends and how to care for the environment.

One of these legends was The Four Food Chiefs. It featured: Chief Black Bear (skəm̓xist), chief of all creatures o the land; Chief Spring Salmon (n’titxw), chief for all creatures in the water; Chief Bitterroot (Speetlum) chief for all things growing underground; and Chief Saskatoon Berry (Siya) chief for all things growing on the land. A story of tolerance and kindness, it explains how The Four Food Chiefs sacrificed themselves in order to feed the People-To-Be.

As a tribute to this legend and the generous spirit behind it, the resort’s restaurant has been reimagined and named The Bear, The Fish, The Root & The Berry. Here, in this beautiful space, Daniel Bibby, the resort’s GM and executive director, hopes guests will create new stories.

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