Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1936 Birchbark Canoe Film - Porpoise Hunter

From this thread on the BushcraftUSA forums, I learned about a 1936 silent film featuring Mi'kmaq style birchbark canoes. Entitled "The Porpoise Hunter", it is a re-creation of the traditional hunt enacted by Digby County Mi'kmaq and illustrates the subsequent rendering of the carcasses into oil. The oil was apparently sold by the Mi'kmaq to various local businesses for a time, but the practice died out when there was no longer any market for the product.

Here are some interesting moments in the video
7:27 - Canoe Portage to beach
8:11 - Launching on the rocky shoreling
8:47 - "Indian" Paddling style
9:32 - Quick turn around strokes
The video clearly shows some wonderful images of the unique design of Mi'kmaq style canoes and also illustrates some authentic paddling techniques of these canoe experts - short but powerful strokes with lots of prying of the gunnels. I was also able to capture a screenshot where the sternman's paddle design (looks to be a painted blade) is quickly seen before it is driven back into the water

Sternman's paddle design


Lee said...

Great video. thanks! I enjoyed the summer camp part. what a awesome lifestyle.

Unknown said...

Dont know where you find this stuff, but that was an incredible film. You always have great content on here. Andre

Murat said...

Thanks Andre!

How goes the building of the pre-fire Chestnut Cruiser form? Do you think you're on track have a canoe ready for the Thomson 100th anniversary in 2017?

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