Linking Art, Environment and People in the Okanagan

Legendary Ogopogo Story

 

Ogopogo or Naitaka (Salish: n’ha-a-itk, “water demon”) is the name given to a cryptid lake monster reported to live in Okanagan Lake, in British Columbia, Canada. Ogopogo has been allegedly seen by Aboriginal people since the 19th century. The most common description of Ogopogo is a forty- to fifty-foot-long (12 to 15 m) sea serpent.

The legend of Ogopogo starts with a Demon possessed Native Man named Kel-oni-won who murdered a well known and respected Elder named ” Old Kan-he-kan ” with a war club. As a punishment for his crime the Creator changed Kel-oni-won into a Lake Serpent, a Creature who would forever be imprisoned at the scene of his crime to suffer eternal remorse. He was left in the custody of a beautiful Lake Goddess. Kel-oni-won was from that day on known as N’ha-a-itk, the remorseful one who must live in the lake in the company of other animals. It is said that the only animal who could tolerate his company was the Rattlesnake. To honor the memory of ” Old Kan-he-kan ” his people named the Lake ” Okanagan.”

ogopogo-historyN’ha-a-itk which translates to ” Water Demon ” or ” Lake Monster ” would demand a toll from travellers for a safe passage through the waters it called home. Its home was said to be the waters near Squally Point near Rattlesnake Island (also known as Monster Island). The fee for safe passage was a live sacrifice. Whenever the Natives who lived around the lake would venture out on the water they would sacrifice a small animal to appease the Monster. They would drop the animal into the water, it would drown and sink to the depths of the lake. This would ensure a protected journey. It was told that the shore of Rattlesnake Island was littered with the gory remnants of the travellers who did not make a sacrifice. N’ha-a-itk would use its mighty tail to whip up the lakes water into a fierce storm that would drown its victims. The white settlers also followed the Natives warnings. Yet the Whiteman also lapsed at times and had to be reminded of the Monsters wrath. The following are a few examples of what would happen if N’ha-a-itk was not given the proper respect.

In 1854 a Settler named John MacDougall is said to have ignored the warnings of the Local Natives. While swimming his team of horses across the lake, N’ha-a-itk pulled the team down with tremendous force. MacDougall was terrified, but even more so when he realized that his canoe, which was tied to the horses was being pulled down as well. He grabbed his knife and cut the poor animals loose, narrowly escaping with his life.

Timbasket was a Chief of a visiting tribe. He was a cynic and declared his disbelief in the existence of N’ha-a-itk. He was told that the West bank Natives intended to sacrifice a live dog to the Monster as they passed Squally Point. Timbasket was unimpressed. He knew far too much of the world to concern himself with such a foolish custom. While crossing the lake Timbasket defiantly chose to travel close to the shore near Squally Point. Suddenly N’ha-a-itk arose from the water and whipped the surface with his powerful tail. Timbasket and his family were sucked under by the great swirl of angry water, never to be seen again.
Evidence of the Natives belief in Ogopogo can be found around the lake. Ancient pictographs or rock art depict the great ” Lake Demon. ” There are at least three crude drawings on stone around the shore of the lake. They are thought to be from around 1700 B.C. and are now in an extremely poor state of preservation.

History Short Movie:

Existing Songs:

– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV85St5FuaA
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSBMb6foV5M
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1_YJmLItxI
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQE8T6Ip6Ic

Movies:

– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aduetCbfMvM
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsS4bFsPT-A
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szUku2TbuHE
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtN0tHDNhko
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GShVz9ZRXvs&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL47F87E7D9111C4E0
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7xfo1pghYA&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL47F87E7D9111C4E0
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bNFWfHk_YA&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL47F87E7D9111C4E0
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pHXC_S7PwM