100-mile canoe journey ending in Surrey pulls community together

SURREY — Eight Surrey Mounties and city employees will participate in a First Nations 100-mile canoe journey happening this week.

The 2015 Pulling Together Canoe Journey, hosted by the Semiahmoo First Nation, started at Harrison Lake last Thursday and is expected to finish on Friday (July 10) at the Semiahmoo reserve in South Surrey. There will be 500 participants all told, among them some students from the Surrey School District.

Now-retired RCMP Staff Sgt. Ed Hill started the Pulling Together Canoe Journey in 2001, in an effort to improve relations between First Nations and the police.

Surrey RCMP Const. Troy Derrick, of the Gitxsan Nation, is marking his ninth year of participating. Derrick said the journey "can be a life-changing experience.

"We often have set beliefs that all First Nations are the same," he said. "This is far from the truth, however, as each community is very different and can only be experienced by spending time with each of them."

Arjen Ordeman, Surrey RCMP’s strategic research and policy advisor, is paddling his first journey.

"This is one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities to learn more about First Nations culture and traditions from a unique perspective," said Ordeman, who has been with the Surrey RCMP since 2004.

tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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