Canim Lake youth embark on canoe journey

Building relationships between enforcement and First Nations residents

Twenty-four Canim Lake youth along with members of the RCMP and the Conservation Officer Service paddled their canoes from the Canim Lake Resort as part of a Cultural Camp and Canoe Journey. The journey took them to the other end of Canim Lake where they camped for three days and learned more about the Tsq'escenemc people.

The youth in the Canim Lake Band area embarked on a Cultural Camp and Canoe Journey from the Canim Lake Resort on July 20.

The purpose of the journey was for the youth to learn about the history of the Tsq’escenemc people by engaging in activities that were done generations ago.

The journey began at 9 a.m. with the participating youth meeting with RCMP members and BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) members who would be accompanying them in the canoes.

[The journey] builds relationships and shows enforcement in a different

way,” says CO Sgt. Andy MacKay.

“It’s good for [local enforcement] to be involved.”

In total, three COs and two RCMP members participated in the journey.

Canim Lake Band Chief Mike Archie says he was very appreciative of the level of co-operation between the different groups.

Our [Canim Lake Wellness Program] and our elders and the local authorities did a great collective effort to provide an opportunity for our youth to experience this culture.”

Everyone stood and introduced themselves and then went through a safety checklist before getting into the canoes.

There were three boats used, one from the RCMP, one from the Canim Lake Band, and one from the COS.

Event organizer Brenda Grant from the Canim Lake Wellness Program has been a part of this annual trip since its inception and says she enjoys its connections to the past.

The central focus is to bring the old traditions back to the community.”

After casting off, they were escorted by South Cariboo Search and Rescue Shane Gunn in a Search and Rescue boat to Mitch Theodore’s property in the #5 Indian Reserve. The property is on the other side of the lake, which is more than 18 nautical miles from the resort.

Upon arriving, the group was greeted by Archie and the local elders. The skippers introduced themselves and their crews and asked to come ashore.

For the next three days, the youth engaged in a series of activities, such as learning to make medicine with the elders, going on hikes around the area and identifying different plant species.

The youth really enjoyed themselves,” says Archie.

Meals were well prepared and there were a lot of interactions. We did different activities that required teamwork.

I also explained some of the history that I learnt from my elders when I was young.”

For Archie, the most important part of the trip is reconnecting with the past and influencing the future.

It’s a lot about our history. Our people travelled by the Canim Lake down to the east end of the lake to gather medicine and food in the high mountains.

We want to let the youth know about our history.”

The group thanked Archie and the elders for their time and lessons before returning to the Canim Lake Resort by canoe on July 22.

The event was very successful,” says Archie.

The youth said they were very appreciative to go on the trip and live on the land. This was good support for our youth group.”

This is one of several canoe journeys for the Canim Lake Band. The next will be from Barriere to Savona, which will run from Aug, 17-19.

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