Birch Bark Canoe - L988.D.010.718

38cm in length, and 8cm wide.

Tree bark was used to make watercraft by the Indigenous peoples of this region. This canoe is made of birch bark that was used by Algonkian and Anishinabek artisans, because it was lightweight and very durable. The seams are waterproofed with melted pine pitch or spruce gum. A Seneca tradition tells of such canoes being left near the river to be used as needed, and brave men would challenge each other to navigate through the upper rapids by canoe. Such canoes were used to travel throughout the Northeast and the Great Lakes region for diplomatic missions, warfare, and to develop trade with distant partners, bringing a variety of goods to this area.


[ Back to Extending the Rafters ]