Celebrate The Magic of Ogopogo & N’ha-a-itk
"Sacred Spirit of the Lake"
World’s Most Credible Sea Serpent!
N.A.'s Most Famous Sea Serpent!
Ogopogo has been seen in Lake Okanagan for thousands of years, first by the indigenous Okanagan Nation, when it was known as the lake monster N’ha-a-itk, and since 1872 by those of Western culture, when it was seen by a cabin resident, from where Quail’s Gate Winery now overlooks Lake Okanagan.
You Can Capture the Magic!
Come seek for yourself! N’ha-a-itk/Ogopogo lives near the Westbank First Nation, across Lake Okanagan from Peachland, in a cave more than 700 feet below water level, by Rattlesnake (Ogopogo) Island and Squally Point.
Native Legends of Ogopogo
There are dozens of reputed lake monsters/sea serpents around the world, but what makes Ogopogo especially interesting is its previous incarnation in native Canadian First Nation legends as a ferocious sea serpent called N'ha-a-itk, that would demand a live sacrifice from travelers for safe passage across Lake Okanagan. Hundreds of years ago, whenever Natives would venture into the lake, they brought chickens or other small animals to kill and drop into the water to assure safe journey.
As with most Native legends, there is a lesson within. According to Westbank First Nation (WFN):
“N’ha-a-itk is a metaphor for sustainability and a good topic to express our connection to the land. N’ha-a-itk lives in the water but can also move to the land and air.
The meaning of N’ha-a-itk is Sacred Spirit of the Lake, not lake demon or monster. If N’ha-a-itk disappears due to pollution and misuse of the water, so do the plants, medicines, trees & foods that sustain us.
For this reason, Westbank First Nation (Editor’s note: neighbour to Peachland) embraces N’ha-a-itk, as is obvious on our logo, as an important figure in our history and connection to the land.”
N’ha-a-itk and the Syilx people are calling to Visitors to respect the lake, sacred source of water, because
Water = Life
The fearsome monster has evolved into a Sacred Spirit that binds First Nations people to their Land & Lake.
N’ha-a-itk is Ogopogo!
One Sea Serpent Spans Two Cultures!
N'ha-a-itk/Ogopogo – Myth or Real?
People living around Lake Okanagan have kept one eye on the Lake since they were kids, hoping to see Ogopogo. Many have seen it, some more than once. Often, they don’t talk about it, for fear of ridicule.
Many sightings have been attributed to being beavers, large sturgeon, water anomalies, or other explainable events. Some say N’ha-a-itk or Ogopogo is but a Native Legend, a water spirit kept alive for lessons to be learned from story-telling.
Non-believers abound! So do believers!
Scotland's Loch Ness may have the fame as far as lake monsters go, but for many monster searchers (Cryptozoologists), Ogopogo is the most likely and best documented of all lake monsters.
"The catalogue of films and video of Ogopogo are more numerous and of better quality than anything I have personally seen at Loch Ness and I believe that several of them are very persuasive that a large, living, unknown creature inhabits the lake."
(John Kirk, BC Scientific Cryptozoology Club).
1968 Folden & 1980 Thal films are best examples.
Whatever else it may be,
N'ha-a-itk/Ogopogo certainly is a Magical Mystery!
Will YOU solve the mystery?
If N'ha-a-itk/Ogopogo is Real, what is it?
Some believe N'ha-a-itk/Ogopogo can be explained as a kind of prehistoric water dinosaur, left over from the Ice Age. For example, an animal similar to an extinct plesiosaur (marine reptile) was caught near New Zealand in 1977. Most researchers later concluded it was a basking shark. But the Plesiosaur theory persists about Ogopogo.
Long-necked, with small heads and long tails, Plesiosaurs would have been trapped when glaciers melted (Lake Okanagan was gouged out by glaciers, and is very deep).
Some say Ogopogo is a primitive whale, Basilosaurus Cetoides, which echoes the log-like
Ogopogo at rest.
Either way, some say that Ogopogo and Nessie are the same type of creature, and can travel
to see each other through underground waterways.
Here is an image that captures what most viewers say Ogopogo looks like in Lake Okanagan, showing Rattlesnake Island (some say Ogopogo Island) in the background.
Some explanations are more esoteric. They see Ogopogo and other sea serpents and creatures as living forever past and future, vibrating at different frequencies to be seen at different times and different places. Fourth dimension comes to mind.
In any case, there have been hundreds, even thousands of credible sightings of Ogopogo, many documented in books written by Mary Moon and Arlene Gaal, and on the website OgopogoQuest, authored by Bill Steciuk.
What does Ogopogo Look Like?
The most common description, among many hundreds of sightings, is a 40 to 60 foot beast, perhaps with horns, smooth skin with some scales, dark green/black skin, with a saw-toothed back, and a head resembling one of horse, snake, sheep, or alligator. One Westbank First Nation sighting from several generations ago described a horse-like head, with antlers and hair – much like the postage stamp!
3 million Ogopogo stamps issued in 1990.
Sea Serpent vs. Lake Monster
The terms are inter-changeable. Sea Serpent describes its appearance, and possible historic origin, & Lake Monster describes current location
“Monster” has Evolved Into “Cute and Cuddly Mascot”
Even in the 1920s, ferries built for the Lake were planned to be armed with “monster-repelling devices.” That plan was cancelled.
Today, in Western culture, Ogopogo is a regional mascot and hero, a cuddly bringer of cheer and love!
Why the change?
Likely because Ogopogo has not been known to hurt people. Rather, when chased, it is more likely to depart the area quickly.
For both Indigenous & Western cultures, Ogopogo is now a benevolent creature!