Friday, April 3, 2009

Maliseet "Grandfather" Canoe

Thanks to Bushcraft poster Mungo and another reader of my blog (thanks John C), I was forwarded a link from The Globe & Mail newspaper regarding one of the world's oldest surviving birchbark canoes.

It's a six-metre long Maliseet freight canoe that ended up, of all places, stored above a damp staircase at the National Univerity of Ireland, Galway. Apparently, the unusual location (and predictable dampness of the Irish climate) allowed the bark, ribs and spruce root lashing to remain moist and intact. Makes me think I should build a giant humidor to store my bark canoe if it is to survive beyond me

NUI Galway staff and postgraduate students moving the 180-year-old birch-bark canoe in 2005

Here's another link documenting its history and initial restoration 2 years ago at the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. Never got a chance to see it back then but it seems that the canoe is currently being loaned out to the New Brunswick Museum. Hopefully they may put up some pics on their online gallery soon. There's also talk of the canoe being repatriated to the Maliseet people of St.Mary's First Nation who've dubbed the artifact the "Grandfather Canoe".

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