A local police officer’s vision has come to fruition with the a new Squamish RCMP canoe. In the spring of 2017, Staff Sgt. Gareth Bradley began the process of acquiring a canoe for the Squamish RCMP detachment.
His goal was to help the local Indigenous youth connect with their culture, while also helping RCMP members understand the importance of cultural relationship building.
The canoe was also a way to honor the work that Cpl. Dean Adams started by building positive lasting relationships with the Squamish Nation. Cpl. Dean Adams passed away in 2009.
On June 14th, the Squamish Nation held an awakening ceremony for the Squamish RCMP canoe. It was on this day that the name in̓inyáx̱a7n-ul-lh, Little Thunderbird, was bestowed.
“It was truly a remarkable day bringing together local government, RCMP and the Squamish Nation people. The day was rich in culture and tradition and was certainly a day that will not be forgotten,” said Ashley MacKay, media relations officer for Squamish RCMP.
Over the past number of years, the Squamish RCMP have participated annually in National Indigenous Peoples Day and until this past year, borrowed a canoe to race the Indigenous youth. Going forward, Little Thunderbird, will be instrumental in furthering positive relations between the Squamish Nation and RCMP, she said
Staff Sgt. Bradley has many plans for Little Thunderbird. This canoe, he says, will help bridge gaps and provide purpose for those that paddle together in it.
“Whether it is out in Alice Lake with kids from local schools, Canoe Journeys, or racing the Mt. Chaki Youth Paddlers, Little Thunderbird will build a community with one heart, one mind, and one spirit,” he says.
“This was truly an initiative that supports reconciliation and without a doubt will be an ongoing source of pride and commitment to our local Indigenous people.”