Chief Saskatoon Berry

Chief Saskatoon Berry

Siyaʔ – Chief Saskatoon Berry

Chief siya, or Saskatoon Berry, is “the Chief for things growing on land.” Whether it be the trees or the flowers or fruit bearing bushes, siya represents all plants that grow from the soil and that sustain the people.

Each Saskatoon bush is constructed of hundreds of individual shoots, growing over many years. This represents the strength that comes from being rooted to the land, to one place, and the legend reinforces the Okanagan people’s powerful link to their traditional territory which, for hundreds of years, they have fought to maintain.

Chief siya also represents the Okanagan concept of community, the branches and berries standing for all the individuals and families that make up the communities within the nation. While each person is an individual, siya teaches that all individuals are part of a greater whole. A Saskatoon berry or leaf on its own is not a Saskatoon bush, and in the same way it is the collection of people acting together that form the Okanagan Nation.


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