Thursday, August 5, 2010

Historic Paddle Illustration - Women Collecting Wild Rice

On Archive.org I came across another work of Henry Schoolcraft entitled The Indian tribes of the United States: Vol 1 (1884). The detailed text contains lots of info regarding history, religion, arts, language, etc. Included amongst the many illustrations is a drawing of three Indians in a canoe along a shoreline gathering wild rice.


Collecting Wild Rice

One holds a very long paddle, probably used for poling in the shallows, while the others use tools to beat grains of rice from their stalks. The grip is also a simple flattened taper, more evidence that this style of grip seems to be commonly used in the past and forgotten by today's manufacturers.


Paddle closeup

Apparently, the image was originally painted by Seth Eastman in 1857 and originally titled, Chippewa Women Gathering Wild Rice. Found a link to one watercolour version here...


Chippewa Women Gathering Wild Rice, c 1857



4 comments:

DAN said...

You have an amazing set of knowledge. Thank you for sharing. My great grand father had one longer paddle for gathering wild rice. Now days we use a forked spruce pole. I am in in the process of making a set of paddles for my family birch bark canoe.

Murat said...

Thanks Dan. Very cool that you have a family birch bark canoe! Anyway, feel free to send me pics of your paddles if you like. I'm always putting up posts of other paddlemakers today making traditional gear.

If you haven't already seen it, there is a detailed biography of Peter Paul Buffalo (Minnesota) online HERE. Chapter 14 talks about ricing season. Seem the old timer wasn't a fan of forked poles but used a paddle like your great grandfather. Anyway, lots of great historic photos and details in the writeup that you might enjoy.

DAN said...

Cool thanks i will.

DAN said...

I have a picture of my great granfathers long paddle. I amd my friend max are going to make it.

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