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Creatures, Myths & Legends

First Nations win fight to reclaim Ogopogo

By T.K. Randall
April 6, 2021 · Comment icon 18 comments

Ogopogo is a lot more than a monster myth. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 1.0 Darren Kirby
The copyright of Canada's famous lake monster legend has been transferred to the Syilx Okanagan Nation.
The elusive lake beast, which is said to reside in the depths of Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, is a popular legend in the region, but in recent years, disagreements have arisen over exactly who it is that owns the copyright and in what way it is acceptable to commercialize it.

While the Ogopogo monster can be found today in books, tourist merchandise and more, its origins lie much further back time, with the legend being an integral part of Canadian First Nations folklore.

It is not surprising, then, that some of the local indigenous communities were not too pleased when the city of Vernon - which has held the copyright since 1956 - granted a children's author the rights to publish a book using the monster's name as the title.

The rights had been originally passed to the city by a local reporter, which came as something of a surprise to the nearby First Nations who did not know that such an arrangement had even existed.
"We equated it to someone taking ownership over the Bible and suddenly copyrighting the name Moses," said Chief Byron Louis of the Okanagan Indian Band. "The idea that someone can take ownership of your teachings and your religious beliefs is absolutely unacceptable."

Fortunately once word of the matter got out, the local council - following a vote - finally took the decision to transfer the copyright to the Syilx Okanagan Nation.

"It's much more than just simply a gesture," said Louis.

"It's the city saying 'This is not ours. This is yours.'"

Source: The Guardian | Comments (18)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Myles 3 years ago
I think the story belongs to anyone who wants it.   I think it is poppycock, but anyone who wants to use it, whether indigenous or not can have it.  
Comment icon #10 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 3 years ago
  I agree Myles, people can see what they want. I saw some waves on a lake.   Just saying    
Comment icon #11 Posted by Myles 3 years ago
I didn't read this to in depth. Are the indigenous people wanting to claim rights to the "monster".   Profit from the sale of related items?   
Comment icon #12 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 3 years ago
I didn't read it, @Myles - just like to look at pictures     
Comment icon #13 Posted by jethrofloyd 3 years ago
I wonder whose is Nessie ?
Comment icon #14 Posted by glorybebe 3 years ago
If they can claim Ogopogo, they can claim rights to the use of it's image.  And Ogopogo is used on all kinds of places/things in the Okanagan.  It is partly their heritage, but a lot if $$$, too.  Maybe the natives are tired of losing their culture and want to take it back.  
Comment icon #15 Posted by the13bats 3 years ago
I admit on vacation to nessie land i flushed an eel down the toilet.
Comment icon #16 Posted by the13bats 3 years ago
Is it about heritage and culture or $$$, I think that every time i go into the tampa casino.
Comment icon #17 Posted by keithisco 3 years ago
The truth is... who cares? Ogopogo has only been monetised by Chancers, the land taken by Settlers... The Barnum and Baileys of the modern world want to claim ownership but the truth is nobody can own an aquatic creature.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Nobu 3 years ago
The waves are interesting.

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