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Canoe Country...

Discussion in 'On the Water' started by Northern Dancer, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. happyflowerlady

    happyflowerlady Survivalist

    I searched to see what that old Indian canoe was actually made of. When I tried to look at it close-up, it just didn't look right for birchbark because I thought I could see something that looked like it was laced along the top. I am pretty sure that you can't lace birch bark; it is pretty thin stuff usually. Anyway, I found this other picture, which actually looks like it was taken at the same place and time. They said that the canoe was made out of elk hide. I have never heard of a canoe made of that, but there were/are a lot of elk in that part of the country; so it makes sense to me that this canoe could indeed be elk hide. It would be very likely be laced along the top to hold it in place, so that fit in as well.

    The thing that I did wonder about is that leather will stretch when it gets wet,and shrink when it dries. So it seems like they would have a saggy-baggy canoe when it was in the water, and a stretched-tight one when it was on the beach. What is the answer, o' Dancing Canoe Guru??

  2. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    I don't know what tribe would be using elk hide in North America but I'm researching the same.
  3. happyflowerlady

    happyflowerlady Survivalist

    It was the Kootenai Indians, Dancer. If you look at the link I included, it tells about the canoes. It spells the word Kootenai with the older spelling (probably more like the original indian word? ) Kutenai; and says the picture was taken at Flathead Lake which is in north-western Montana, near what is now the Bison Range. The Kootenai River runs from Kootenai Lake in Canada down into Northern Idaho, so notsure where the Montanapart comes in.
    I guess I will have to dosome research, too.
  4. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    Thank you. I'm going to look that up - it sounds interesting. I dabbled in learning about historic tribes when I was a program director for a Y camp, our theme was native.
  5. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    You are probably right about the birch bark being the material of the canoe. It is known for its resistance to water and light weight which makes it an excellent material for canoes. The only problem with these old types of canoes if I recall correctly is that they can get damaged very easily so you have to be very careful with them especially when you are bringing them into shore. Definitely no riding them right up onto the beach and sliding the bottom against the sand (great way to get a hole in it). They also take a lot of maintenance compared to modern canoes like all wooden boats.
  6. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    images (5).jpeg

    ...then again, they didn't have these little emergency repair kits like we do today. Top quality duct tape will do the job just fine.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
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