c. 1770-1775 Cree Paddle
An excerpt of downloadable notes from Dr. Ted Brasser, Ph.D. (PDF link) states the following:
The canoe paddle (NC0047) conforms to the type used by the northern Cree people on Hudson Bay. Typically, the handle is scarcely more than half the length of the paddle; in this case the handle is even somewhat shorter. This may well be the oldest Cree paddle in existence, and its decoration is more elaborate than on recent Cree paddles. Painted paddles from both sides of the Hudson Bay are illustrated in the literature. It is recorded that such paintings had a personal meaning based upon dream experiences. The zigzag pattern on this early example may stand for water.
If this really is the oldest Cree paddle in existence, it may be worth replicating in the future. The zig zag patterns would be very easy to reproduce with pyrography. So many paddle plans...so little time!