Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cheenama the Trailmaker (1935)

While searching for canoe themed material on Archive.org, I came across what may in fact be the oldest recorded film images of the construction of a bark canoe. It was filmed by Harlan I. Smith, archeologist and ethnographer with the Canadian Museum of Civilization. This film entitled, Cheenama the Trailmaker was supposed to document life in an Ojibway camp by following the "story" of Cheenama and his family. Apparently, it failed as an authentic ethnographic record for many of its posed & stereotyped scenes, but the construction of the bark canoe is fascinating to watch nonetheless. Also interesting is the footage the the main characters harvesting wild rice. Here are some stills

Still frame from: upenn-f16-2090 Cheenama the Trailmaker
Bark staked out

Still frame from: upenn-f16-2090 Cheenama the Trailmaker
Splitting root

Still frame from: upenn-f16-2090 Cheenama the Trailmaker
Stitching the ends

Still frame from: upenn-f16-2090 Cheenama the Trailmaker
Installing Ribs

Still frame from: upenn-f16-2090 Cheenama the Trailmaker
Collecting wild rice with the canoe

You can either watch the movie on the Archive.org site by clicking any of the images above or download the .mp4 file (155MB) directly.



3 comments:

Edwin said...

I'm downloading the video as I type. Here is a link to a few pics I found in the Ontario Archives...not sure if you've seen these before.

http://ao.minisisinc.com/scripts/mwimain.dll/124/1/0?SEARCH&ERRMSG=[IMG_WEB]img_simNo.htm

Edwin

Murat said...

Never considered looking at the Archives of Ontario website...right under my nose all this time. Thanks for the link.

Edwin said...

Here is a link to bark canoe pictures at the Alaska Digital Archives:

http://vilda.alaska.edu/cdm4/results.php?CISOOP1=all&CISOBOX1=bark%20canoe&CISOFIELD1=CISOSEARCHALL&CISOOP2=exact&CISOBOX2=&CISOFIELD2=CISOSEARCHALL&CISOOP3=any&CISOBOX3=&CISOFIELD3=CISOSEARCHALL&CISOOP4=none&CISOBOX4=&CISOFIELD4=CISOSEARCHALL&CISOROOT=all&t=a

Edwin

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