More than 400 participants – led by Indigenous people from across the province, including members of Semiahmoo First Nation – dipped their paddles in the Shuswap River earlier this week, to begin the eight-day Pulling Together Canoe Journey.
The journey – now in its 20th year – was hosted by the Splatsin, Cstélnec (Adams Lake), Simpcw, and Tsq’escenemc (Canim Lake) First Nations, in co-operation with Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc, began on Tuesday, July 12, when participants entered the river at Belvidere Park in Enderby.
The journey also includes stops at Grindrod Park, Mara Lake, Pierre’s Point and Blind Bay on Shuswap Lake, before wrapping up at Green Lake, which is a traditional summer gathering place for the Secwe̓pemc people, on July 20.
The Pulling Together event was created in 2001, and has seen Indigenous communities partner with community groups, police and both provincial and federal agencies. It was inspired by the 1997 Vision Quest Journey along B.C.’s West Coast, which saw Indigenous paddlers and RCMP members take part, visiting Indigenous communities along the way.
In 2015, the Pulling Together journey came to the Semiahmoo Peninsula, as that year’s eight-day, 100-km event ended with a trip through Semiahmoo Bay and into SFN land. SFN had three canoes take part in that year’s journey.