Saturday, December 10, 2011

Naskapi Cree Paddles - William Strong Collection

Came across another treasure trove of paddle information on This publication entitled, Material culture of the Davis Inlet and Barren Ground Naskapi outlines enthographic items collected by William Duncan Strong from the Davis Inlet and Barren Ground Naskapi in 1927-1928.

Plate 49 (pg 89) features a diagram of 4 decorated Naskapi paddles accompanying the model canoes in the collection...

Naskapi Paddles in the Strong Collection

These are, not surprisingly, very similar to the sketches in Garth Taylor's, 1980 publication, Canoe construction in a Cree cultural tradition which I used in the painted decoration of my Bushcraft Cree spruce paddle. Pgs 19-20 contain a book contains a brief write-up on these paddles:

The collection contains seven canoe paddles, with handles approximately half the length of the blades or slightly less. The blades are flat or have a slight ridge down the center and vary in width from 7.5 cm to 11.5 cm. The handles widen slightly and are flattened at the end. Only two specimens show signs of use. The blades of five paddles are decorated; the decoration on the illustrated specimens, in orange pigment, red crayon, and indelible pencil, is typical (fig. 49A-D). The partridge design and a motif which Strong (1928e) called "whale tails" occur on one paddle (fig. 49B). These bands of decoration appear to be a common feature on paddles, at least as far west as the Cree around Great Whale River (Taylor, p. 94, fig. 9).

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