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Nutrition

The Four Food Chiefs

The Four Food Chiefs are not just about food types in Okanagan legend. Rather, they are the basis for the entire society, and the most important legend underpinning the self image and the behaviour of Okanagan people.

Collectively the Four Food Chiefs represent the principles behind every aspect of life for the Okanagan people, from how they are governed, to how they interact with each other, how they view economics, and how they interact with the land.

At the beginning of time, the four Chiefs met to decide what was to be done about the people coming to populate the earth. Chief Black Bear, the eldest and wisest of the Chiefs, decided to sacrifice himself for the people, as all he had to give was his body. The other Chiefs agreed, and together transformed themselves into the foods by which the people would sustain themselves.

That spirit of self sacrifice and service is what informed the Okanagan leadership style for centuries, and to this day, the Okanagans deep ties to the land is linked directly to the attitude created by the Four Chiefs legend; that the land must sustain the people, and the people must in turn sustain the land.

 

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