PHOTOS: Pulling Together Canoe Journey gives paddlers Adams Lake welcome

Adams Lake (Cstélnec) paddlers finish the July 15 journey from Blind Bay to Adams Lake as part of the 12-day 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)Adams Lake (Cstélnec) paddlers finish the July 15 journey from Blind Bay to Adams Lake as part of the 12-day 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
The West Vancouver Police canoe is loaded up on July 15 after arriving at Adams Lake during the 12-day 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)The West Vancouver Police canoe is loaded up on July 15 after arriving at Adams Lake during the 12-day 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
The Splatsin canoe heads towards the shore of Little Shuswap Lake on July 15 after coming from Blind Bay during the 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer) .The Splatsin canoe heads towards the shore of Little Shuswap Lake on July 15 after coming from Blind Bay during the 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer) .
One of the paddlers in the 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey arrives at Adams Lake on July 15. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)One of the paddlers in the 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey arrives at Adams Lake on July 15. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
The Adams Lake (Cstélnec) canoe is carried towards a trailer to be loaded up after the July 15 paddle from Blind Bay to Adams Lake on July 15 during the 12-day 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)The Adams Lake (Cstélnec) canoe is carried towards a trailer to be loaded up after the July 15 paddle from Blind Bay to Adams Lake on July 15 during the 12-day 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Jules with the Blue Eagle Cadets from the Collingwood Crew and the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation on the west coast of Vancouver Island enjoys her time on the 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Jules with the Blue Eagle Cadets from the Collingwood Crew and the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation on the west coast of Vancouver Island enjoys her time on the 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Paddlers help load a canoe from Vancouver on July 15 at Adams Lake during the 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Paddlers help load a canoe from Vancouver on July 15 at Adams Lake during the 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
The work of carrying the canoes to the trailers requires strength and many people provide a helping hand on July 15 at Adams Lake during the 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)The work of carrying the canoes to the trailers requires strength and many people provide a helping hand on July 15 at Adams Lake during the 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Secwépemc Elder Ethel Billy, in a white hat, drums as the canoes in the Pulling Together Canoe Journey near shore on July 15. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Secwépemc Elder Ethel Billy, in a white hat, drums as the canoes in the Pulling Together Canoe Journey near shore on July 15. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

Pulling paddles through the waters of several Secwépemc lakes made up the 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey.

This year, following pandemic restrictions, 21 canoe families as they were called, were in the region from July 10 to 21. Visitors were hosted by Splatsin, Adams Lake (Cstélnec) and Simpcw (North Thompson) First Nations.

After being hosted by Splatsin, paddlers travelled from Sicamous to Pierre’s Point on July 14, where they were met with a welcome ceremony to Switsemalph reserve #6, followed by dinner, cultural sharing and entertainment.

Canoes were moved to Blind Bay and, on July 15, paddlers travelled from Blind Bay to Adams Lake. There they were welcomed to Sahhaltkum reserve #4 in Chase.

Once again the ceremony was followed by dinner, cultural celebrations and entertainment, this time at the Adams Lake Recreation Centre.

In keeping with traditions of generosity, each of the two nights every canoe family was presented with a gift from the Adams Lake (Cstélnec) people.

Acting Adams Lake Kukpi7 (Chief) and Councillor Cory Sampson, filling in for Kukpi7 Lynn Kenoras-Duck Chief who was away, welcomed the 21 canoe families on July 15 who were participating in the 12-day 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

Acting Adams Lake Kukpi7 (Chief) and Councillor Cory Sampson, filling in for Kukpi7 Lynn Kenoras-Duck Chief who was away, welcomed the 21 canoe families on July 15 who were participating in the 12-day 2022 Pulling Together Canoe Journey. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

“To me, I feel it was a great project that started in ‘97,” said acting Adams Lake Kukpi7 (Chief) and councillor Cory Sampson on July 15, filling in for Kukpi7 Lynn Kenoras-Duck Chief who was away. “Originally started for reconciliation between the First Nations people, DFO and RCMP is why it originally started and just took off from there.

“For them to come here is awesome. Most of our people were inspired by that. That’s why we try to join in any time we can.”

When Adams Lake began participating in 2014, Sampson estimates more than 40 canoes travelled to the Coast via lakes.

Sampson joined the Cstélnec canoe family this year, a first for him.

“Youth asked me to paddle, so I’m like, yeah, I’ll come paddle. I missed the first day as I was stuck in meetings.”

“It is pretty cool,” he said, describing the number of people visiting. “We haven’t had this many people in our community in a good three, four years.”

Participating were eight police canoes mostly from the Lower Mainland, 11 First Nations canoes as well as navy and fisheries’ canoes.

About 500 canoe paddlers, ground crews and community members from all over B.C. participated.

The stated vision of the canoe journey is to lead the way in the elimination of prejudice and stereotypes. Core values are fun, unity, respect, cultural diversity and empathy.

The journey’s mission statement refers to enhancing understanding “between public service agencies and aboriginal people by canoeing the traditional highway, strengthening our future relations.”

Read more: Pulling Together Canoe Journey paddlers come ashore in Sicamous

Read more: PHOTOS: Canoe journey paddlers pull it together in Enderby



martha.wickett@saobserver.net
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