Cori Derickson

Cori Derickson, manager of the Syilx Trail Gift Store and Gallery, shows a cool skateboard made by artist Les Louis. Although it’s possible to ride the skateboard, it’s really a work of art, said Derickson.

The Syilx Trail Gift Store and Gallery, located adjacent to the Sncewips Heritage Museum, had only been open for a short time before it closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now the store is open again to promote authentic syilx and indigenous fine art and unique gifts.

When the Sncewips Heritage Museum moved to its new larger location in the Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre, Westbank First Nation decided to attach a separate gift store and gallery.

“Everyone wants to find something to take home after they have such a great experience in the museum,” said Cori Derickson, store manager.

The gift store had its “soft opening” on Feb 1. March sales were great for a couple of weeks, but Derickson said in the middle of March there was a downturn because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They closed the store and worked from home for a couple of months, partnering with Derickson’s brother Nelson to start an online store at syilxtrail.com.

Now open again, the gift shop and gallery offer items in a range of prices from a $10 greeting card and pretty little necklaces for $20 to a $10,000 authentic painted canvas artwork by David Lloyd Wilson, a syilx artist in the Okanagan whose work was featured at the Kelowna International Airport.

The gallery also has works by Lee Claremont, Les Louis (whose sculptures are featured at UBCO) and Westbank First Nation artist Janine Lott who is renowned for her painted gourdes.

There are also works from Derickson, who is a multi-interdisciplinary artist who has her Masters of Fine Art.

Because of the loss of sales during the COVID-19 pandemic closure, the Syilx Gift Store and Gallery has teamed up with ProForma until June 30 for a pop-up web store at syilxtrail.buyproforma.com to offer We are Family limited edition products designed by Derickson.

“They’re beautiful limited edition products that talk about the water, the sustainability, the four-leggeds and the holistic philosophy that we’re all one people and related and living in harmony to everything that’s here,” said Derickson.

The store will also support young entrepreneurs and teach young Westbank First Nation people what it’s like to be in business this summer through the Youth Works program.

“We like to do things intergenerationally and also inspire our youth to become successful,” Derickson said.

The Syilx Trail Gift Store and Gallery are part of the Syilx Trail, which also includes Sncewips Heritage Museum, Spirit of the Lake Native Boutique, Indigenous World Winery, Two Eagles Golf Course and the Kekuli Café.