Gina ’Waadluxan Tluu: The Everything Canoe
Heather Ramsay and Kwiaahwah Jones, eds.
Haida Gwaii Museum Press (2010)
We walked into a grove of 500 year-old trees, and there it was.
At first glance, it seemed nothing more than an old log covered in moss. Then Jaalen Edenshaw, who had recently carved a canoe with his father and brother in Skidegate, showed us how the ends of the log had been carved to a point, how the base had been shaped into a hull. The abandoned canoe, 35-feet long, would have held 10 people if it had been finished, he said. Probably a boat a for a family to use on food gathering trips.
In that forest, now reached by logging road but not so far from the Yakoun River, one of the key waterways on the islands, we were surrounded by everything once needed to make a canoe. That’s when the essence of the classroom resource we were creating, one that featured the canoe as the central icon of Haida culture, really hit home.
Dug-out of a single log, carved into a distinctive shape and steamed open to become a seaworthy vessel, the Haida canoe is connected to the forests, the ocean, supernatural beings, great voyages, war, trade, feasts and potlatches of island archipelago of Haida Gwaii.
Authors Heather Ramsey and Kwiaahwah Jones
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