Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cree Cultural Institute - Crooked Knife

Another beautiful artifact in the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute online exibit is a beautiful looking crooked knife with an fiddle head handle. The webpage features a little artifact applet that lets you rotate the image to get a 360 degree view. Here are some screenshots.

Cree Crooked Knife
Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute

The page also has a quote by canoe builder John Kawapit that highlights the importance of this critical tool...

"In the past they used a rock or bone to make a crooked knife but today we use metal. A file that is worn out and unusable is what we use. We put it in the fire so that the threads melt off, and then we hammer it and mould it into a crooked knife. When it’s heated, we bend it. As it heats some more and becomes white-hot, we put it in cold water, and it hardens.… I’ve heard it said that of all their belongings, the snowshoes were held in the highest regard because they created mobility in the winter, and in the summer, the canoe was the same. But I think the crooked knife is the most important because you use a crooked knife to make canoes and snowshoes!"
– Job Kawapit, Whapmagoostui

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