Thursday, April 8, 2021

Ciscos Gallery: Penobscot style paddle

Another paddle showcased by Cisco's Gallery advertised as a "Native Carved Canoe Paddle". It features the classic Penobscot stepped grip motif and is identified as carved from Birch.

Native Carved Canoe Paddle
Item Number: V69
SIZE: 60"L; Paddle 6"
Comments: Native carved canoe paddle with stylised notching and handle. Carved of birch, much patina from use. Paddle strong but very light.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Historic Paddle Photo: Guide Andrew Nicholas Penobscot / Maliseet Paddle

Here's a beautiful historic pic of native guide Andrew Nicholas (November 1, 1869 - July 10, 1935) in the act of carving a paddle with bushtools...

A brief bio online mentions Nicholas was born at Chesuncook, ME and worked  primarily as a sporting guide. Through living in Penobscot territory his heritage was Maliseet from the the L'isle Verte region of Quebec.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Atikamekw paddles at the Université de Montreal

The Collection ethnographique of the Université de Montreal houses some Atikamekw artefacts which form the basis of an indigenous watercraft display.

The birchbark canoe canoe was made by Albert Biroté (1899-1977), an Atikamekw master craftsman from Wemotaci (Haute-Mauricie) in 1974. It was commissioned at the request of Norman Clermont, archaeologist from the anthropology department of the University of Montreal, as part of his investigation into the history of Wemotaci and the material culture of its inhabitants. 

Clermont's research was eventually published as a book entitled, La culture matérielle des indiens de Weymontachie. I was able to find a rare copy of this book housed at the Royal Ontario Museum's library. The publication contains a grainy image of the set of paddles also carved by Albert Biroté to accompany the canoe (see original post here).

La culture matérielle des indiens de Weymontachie 
Norman Clermont (‎1982) 

A second sketch appears in the book providing a closeup of the decorative element...

La culture matérielle des indiens de Weymontachie 
Norman Clermont (‎1982) 

New colour photos from the university reveal some more details of the paddle set, including closeup views of the deeply etched leaf patterns on the decorated handle. Curiously, this longer paddle of the two has been labelled as an "Aviron de Femme", a "Woman's paddle". Most other samples of gender specific paddles labelled by other museums and documentation (like Adney's description of Male / Female Cree paddles) had noted the shorter length of paddles typically utilised by women.

Aviron de femme
Item No: 75.5.3
Maple, Varnished
DIMENSIONS: L. 143.5 cm x l. 10.2 cm
DESCRIPTION: Oar in varnished maple. Handle decorated with flower motifs carved on both sides enhanced by light burning of the backwood.

The second paddle, plainly carved in birch features a much smaller bulb grip and is a few centimetres shorter.

Aviron d'homme
Item No. 75. 75.5.2
DIMENSIONS: 134 cm x  13 cm

Friday, February 26, 2021

Antique Woodland Paddle (Nova Scotia)

Here's another antique paddle showcased by Cisco's Gallery advertised as a "Native Carved Canoe Paddle" from Nova Scotia.

Item Number: M579
Native Carved Canoe Paddle
SIZE: 74" Blade 5"
PERIOD: First half 19th Century
ORIGIN: Nova Scotia, Canada

The upper portion of the blade features crudely carved initials...

For comparison, see the a similarly shape "Northeast Woodlands" paddle  found in the collection of The Museum Volkenkunde (National Museum of Ethnology) in the Netherlands.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Huronia Land Conservancy & 2021 PADDLING Film Festival


The annual Paddling Film Festival showcases the very best paddling films of the year. Now in its 16th year, the festival celebrates the wild and the people who appreciate it through canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding.

For 2021, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and current restrictions on public gatherings, they've adapted the the typical theatre screenings of their planned 130+ city tour. This year local hosts will offer virtual online streaming programs through the purchase of a digital ticket. For $15 US, one can purchase a digital key for films either in the "Adventure", "Adrenaline" or "Culture" categories which permit a three day rental of the films in each section. 

One such local host is the Huronia Land Conservancy, a non-profit, charitable organization committed to the long-term protection of natural and/or cultural heritage in the historic Huronia district of Ontario. Through Land Trust agreements, the HLC works to acquire and protect land and preserve it in its natural state in perpetuity. 

Here is a message from the Huron Land Conservancy regarding the partnership with the film festival.

" In partnership with Paddling magazine, the Festival's sponsor, HLC is making these films available to you through the purchase of this key. A percentage of the proceeds will accrue to the Conservancy and all those proceeds will go to further its work, which currently is focusing on the acquisition of two properties. Your ticket price will not only welcome you to the world of paddling, it will be of invaluable assistance to the HLC. Thank you for your support."

For those who are looking for something to break the monotony of our current Covid lockdown, this could be a welcome event with a Charitable cause. The digital key ticket can be purchased at the following link:

You are also eligible for an additional 10% off by using the following code:  HURONIALANDCONSERVANCY10

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