BC Geographical Names

Name Details:

Name: Okanagan River
Feature TypeClick here for a list of
Feature Types.
River - Watercourse of variable size, which has tributaries and flows into a body of water or a larger watercourse
StatusClick here for an explanation of Status.: Official
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Flows S from Okanagan Lake to Osoyoos Lake, then continues S and SW into the Columbia River in Washington State, Similkameen Division Yale Land District
Latitude-LongitudeClick here for an explanation of Position Type.: 49°04'33''N, 119°31'04''W at the approximate mouth of this feature.
DatumClick here for an explanation of Datum.: NAD83
NTS MapClick here for an explanation of NTS Map.: 82E/4
Related MapClick here for an explanation of Related Maps.: 82E/12
  Nearby names within

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted 6 October 1936 on Geological Survey sheet 420A, Kettle River, as long-identified on maps.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
Headwaters at 49 30 07 - 119 36 42 at outlet of Okanagan Lake. Flows southward into Osoyoos Lake at 49 04 33 - 119 31 04; emerges from Osoyoos Lake in Washington State, and channel continues south and southwest as Okanogan River [sic] to its' confluence with the Columbia River. Total length = 115 miles (BC portion = 43 miles)
Source: Canadian Geographical Names Database, Ottawa
"There are many theories as to the derivation of the name, but the majority agree that the compound word "Okanagan" contains the word for "head". One likely translation is "looking toward the upper end [head]"; another is "seeing the top or head", possibly referring to the summit of Mt. Chopaka. The anthropologist Teit wote, "Okanagan is said to be derived from the name of a place on Okanagan River, somewhere near the Falls, so named because it was the 'head' of the river, at least insofar as the ascent of salmon was concerned"." (Okanagan Indian Band website, 2013)
Source: included with note