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What’s The Story Behind Canada’s Mysterious Lake Monster?

Everyone in the city of Kelowna, BC has heard of Ogopogo. In fact, many tourists visit the city in hopes of spotting the mysterious lake monster. The monster is said to be a lake serpent with multiple humps, green or black skin, and a head similar to a horse, snake, or sheep. However, dig a little deeper, and you’ll learn the truth. The legend of Ogopogo started as a miscommunication between early Canadian settlers and the indigenous people of the area. According to Pat Raphael of the Westbank First Nation, “It’s not really a monster, it’s a spirit of the lake and it protects this valley from one end to the other.” Before European settlers, the syilx had been living on the land for over 12,000 years. They believed in the importance of water, and that it took on a spiritual form and a physical form. The lake represented the physical form, and n ̓x̌ax̌aitkʷ (n-ha-ha-it-koo) represented the spiritual form. Likely, settlers saw the syilix symbolically feeding the lake, and they misinterpreted the ritual.

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