Saturday, June 20, 2009

Historic Paddle Illustrations - Henry Schoolcraft

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (March 28, 1793–December 10, 1864) was an American geographer and ethnologist, noted for his early studies of Native American cultures. One of his publications entitled, Narrative journal of travels through the northwestern regions of the United States (1821) has an illustration plate documenting 2 paddles including one with an unusual banded decorative pattern. Unfortunately any meaning or significance of the decoration is unknown and Schoolcraft never mentioned the name of tribe. Here's a quote from p 69. of his book available for download in PDF format (26 MB).
"The Fur Companies have lately introduced the use of oars, in propelling
the canoe but the natives employ the cedar paddle, with a light and slender blade. See fig. 14, plate 2. In either case, they are steered with a larger paddle, having a long handle, and a broad blade. See Fig. 2, plate 2."


Schoolcraft's documented paddles - Fig. 14; Fig. 2



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