This history of Indigenous canoes from the Northwest Coast of North America includes the first comprehensive review of canoe types from the time of Newcomer contact in the late 18th century to contemporary times. Drawings, paintings, lines drawings and models illustrate canoes from the Columbia River to the Alaskan Panhandle. The canoe-making revival that began in the late 20th century is featured and canoe makers, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous are identified. More than fifty colour photographs illustrate canoes paddled in the annual Tribal Journeys from many locations along the Northwest Coast to a single celebratory rendezvous hosted by a First Nation.
This book was originally envisioned by Eugene Arima as a document to record Calvin Hunt’s reconstruction of an ancient Northwest Coast canoe type that had disappeared after contact with European and North American Newcomers. Now this book has grown to include late 20th century Northwest Coast canoe making in general. This work includes information based on Arima’s experience working with both Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwaka’wakw canoemakers*, beginning in the late 1960s and continuing into the current century. We decided to include a history of canoe types encountered by the Newcomers at the time of contact and a sampling of canoes that participated in Tribal Journeys. We hope that we have made a meaningful contribution to the study of Northwest canoe history and canoe making, but we realize that in many ways we have only scratched the surface of this complex and many faceted subject.
* In 1980, the U’mista Cultural recommended that the word Kwakwaka´wakw, meaning those who speak the Kwak´wala language, be used in place of Kwakiutl or Southern Kwakiutl (Galois 1994:13-14). After hearing that the term was to be used, some elders expressed surprise as the word means a group of people rushing forward in a crowd and falling down (Gloria Cranmer Webster personal communiation to Eugene Arima).
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