Thursday, September 27, 2012

Carving Dugouts as Cultural Education

We're written before about Voyages of Rediscovery, an educational organization that builds and uses canoes "as a medium for education and exploration," initially confined to the Columbia River, but more recently in other areas of North America. The organization's primary focus has been birchbark canoes and fiberglass replicas thereof, but they've lately gotten into dugouts as well.

Tyee, above, is a 33-foot western red cedar canoe completed early this month at Kettle Falls on the Columbia. VOR's Adam Wicks-Arshak reports that 11 main participants and hundreds of community members carved it over 11 days with guidance from John Ruskey of the Quapaw Canoe Company.

There are plenty of photos of the building process on Flickr in these three sets:

Facebook members can view more photos of the finished boat here:

And here's one of Quapaw's other projects, recently completed at the KIPP Delta Collegiate Middle School in Helena, Arkansas, and being paddled on the lower Mississippi River:

For Facebook users, more photos of the same boat:

I love the carvings on both canoes, which look like mythic aquatic beasts swimming on their respective rivers. I don't think these carvings have solid cultural background, but it's hard to argue with the boats' appearance or the overall value of the projects.

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