Thursday, September 12, 2019

c1890 Tyendinaga Mohawk Canoe and Paddles

An expired Kijiji ad from earlier in the summer featured a birchbark canoe and two paddles being offered for sale. Seller claimed the canoe was from 1890 and built at the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, part of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation. I had inquired if the paddles were for sale separately and if any more details could be provided. The seller simply responded that they were sold with the boat unfortunately ignored my request for more details.

The advertisement photos show well aged paddles (likely maple) carved in a manner consistent with the Iroquoian tradition of a reverse-spatulate blade with tiny, flattened grips.

c1890 bark canoe and paddles

c1890 bark canoe and paddles

As a comparison, here are some known Iroquois (Mohawk) paddles in the collection of the Royal Ontario Museum:
ROM Paddles - Iroquois
late 19th - early 20th century
Area of Origin: Northeast; Ontario; Canada; North America; Six Nations of the Grand 

Another set of Iroquois paddles were posted on Here is a shot of decorated Iroquois paddles from LiveAuctioneer that I posted on before.

Pair of Painted Iroquois Canoe Paddles,
red and white painted blade, unpainted shaft; each 65.5" long. 
Ex Howard K. Echenstern Collection.


Unknown said...

Any idea how long the ROM paddles are. Love this design

Murat said...

Sorry for the late response. I got a chance to check out these paddles in the ROM's storage collection and took detailed measurements. Wrote an article for Wooden Canoe journal with all the details and additional information. PDF link is Hope that helps.

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