Oliver, B.C.’s 100th anniversary marked on Picture Postage

On the traditional territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, the southern B.C. interior town of Oliver marks its centennial anniversary this year.

The Syilx people’s 10,000-year history in the area has been combined with the 100th anniversary of the town of Oliver on two Picture Postage stamps designed by west-coast collector Peter Lepold and issued by Oliver Parks & Recreation. The stamps are part of the “100×100” project, which celebrates Oliver’s municipal milestone through the lens of the Syilx people and their ancestral, traditional and unceded territory. The project specifically honours the Osoyoos Indian Band, a First Nations government – one of eight belonging to the Okanagan Nation Alliance – that controls about 32,000 acres of land surrounding Oliver and nearby Osoyoos, which is about 20 kilometres south.

“It is a chance to recognize the land, the people and the organizations that have made Oliver what it is today while growing in understanding and working toward a positive shared future,” says Julianna Wiesgarber, the executive director of the Oliver & District Heritage Society.

The second Oliver stamp (shown) features the town’s municipal hall, which originally held the office of the South Okanagan Lands Project.

OLIVER, B.C., PICTURE POSTAGE

Oliver officials commissioned Lepold, a prolific Picture Postage issuer and the publicity chair with the Kelowna & District Stamp Club, to design the two anniversary stamps.

In early August, Lepold met with Okanagan Historical Society Vice-President Larry Shannon – his former co-worker – and Oliver Parks & Recreation Manager Carol Sheridan, who is also the chair of the “100×100” planning committee. Together, in consultation with the Osoyoos Indian Band, they laid out the stamp concepts.

“They ensured the text in the Syilx language on the stamp was appropriate, so it was a good group effort,” says Lepold, who designed his first Picture Postage stamp in 2003 and has since produced nearly 200 customized issues covering a range of topics – from local landmarks and anniversaries to family events such as birthdays and weddings.

Local artist Emilie Herbert created the logo featured on one of the stamps. A 29-year-old Oliver resident, Herbert won the “100×100” design contest with her logo representing the history’s area. It features the local landmark formerly known as the McIntyre Bluff, just north of Oliver. Renamed in 2015 as “Nʕaylintn” (pronounced “Ny-lin-tin”), which means “storyteller” in the Okanagan language, the bluff is shown as a colourful stylized design within a circle in the centre of the stamp. The Syilx words below the bluff translate to “100×100.”

The planning committee then provided Lepold, of Kelowna, B.C., with the logo for the stamp’s final design.

“Our stamp could very well be the first stamp that has text in a First Nations language,” says Lepold, who adds it’s “certainly the first” to feature the Syilx language.

The second stamp depicts a modern photograph of Oliver’s municipal hall, once home to the Southern Okanagan Lands Project office.

Both stamps feature the town name alongside the double dates, “1921-2021.”

The issues are now available for purchase through Oliver Parks & Recreation. To place an order, contact Sheridan via email at carol@oliverrecreation.ca.

CSN published a full story highlighting the 100-year history of Oliver, B.C., in Vol. 46 #15 (“Small B.C. town on unceded Syilx territory marks centennial”).

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