Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Says Lake Deserves Respect
PENTICTON – Spotted Lake just west of Osoyoos has received some international publicity with a New York Times’ article describing the body of water as “Otherworldly.”
Whether that’s good or bad may depend on the respect vistors give the lake and surrounding environment considered a spiritual place by local First Nations.
The New York Times article describes the lake’s unique characteristics and the 2012 study of the lake’s mineral composition by Ph. D. candidate Kevin Cannon. The article also speaks of the need to respect the lake and its significance to the Okanagan Nation noting permission is required to visit the lake itself, which is also clearly visible from Highway 3.
Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie says the property is owned by the Okanagan Nation, and degree of access to the site is one of differing opinion among members.
“If you’re asking my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with visitors going down to the site. The thing I don’t like is when tourists are walking on the lake,” he said, referring to a photo that recently circulated showing a group of people walking out on the lake.
“There are certain times of the year when you can walk out on the lake between the circles. People should not be out there walking on the lake,” he said, adding it was a spiritual place deserving of the respect to view, but not encroach upon.
Louie says since the Okanagan Nation purchased the property there has been much more access to it than when it was privately owned.
“There was always a locked gate there, no trespassing signs. Now I think there’s just a piece of twine around the gate,” he says. “It’s a healing, spiritual lake, and we’ve been quite lenient about access. Having a bunch of locks and keys is not what I want to see, but visitors need to respect the area and leave nothing but footprints.”
“Footprints don’t last very long. That’s the only thing that should be left down there, in the sand and dirt, not in the lake.”
He says those who don’t have spiritual ties to the lake can view and photograph it easily from the highway.
View “Spotted Lake Awesome Aerial” video by Luke Gibson via YouTube