Monday, November 16, 2015

Cree Cultural Institute - Kawapit Canoe & Paddles

The Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute has a wonderful online exhibit featuring the many Cree artifacts on loan from various museums. Included in their collections in the well known canvas canoe made by John Kawapit. Some readers may recall that this canoe was the focus of Garth Taylor's book Canoe construction in a Cree cultural tradition (1980). It documents a commission build for the Canadian Museum of Civilization of a traditional Eastern Cree canoe made using canvas as a substitute for birch bark (see my original post about it here).

The new exhibit page for this canoe features a wonderful new photo showcasing the lines as well as 2 paddles commissioned with the build. Further details about the build as well as additional photos and a video commentary are available as well.

Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute

It turns out that one can also take a virtual tour of their museum too. The canoe is part of their "Community's Way of Life" gallery. Here is a screenshot...

Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute

The paddles feature some simple thin red line markings (to match the canoe) similar to  paddle design A in Taylor's illustration...

Decorated Cree Paddles

For my own spruce Cree replica made back in 2011, I came up with a slightly different pattern than Paddle (D) on the far right, a museum model piece from Fort Chimo now at the McCord Museum in Montreal.

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