The Sturgeon Nosed Canoe
In 2010 I was contacted by Harry W., a member of the Sinixt people who had seen a picture of my Upper Yukon River canoe and was interested in commissioning a traditional Sinixt canoe which, as it turns out, is a Sturgeon Nosed canoe.
Haven't heard of the Sinixt? (pron. Sin-ite) Me neither. I had always associated this canoe design with the Kutenai, but didn't know about the Sinixt. Harry gave me a book (The Geography of Memory by Eileen Delehanty Pearkes) that contained pictures of Sturgeon Nose canoes that I had never seen, and I have a pretty good book collection on the subject of traditional canoes and kayaks.
I was interested in doing something different. In March of 2011 construction began.
Lacing turned out to be a very effective way of skinning. Too good really. I had to slacken the strings to keep the gunwales from distorting.
There is very little sewing to be done. The rub rails keep the skin attached to the gunwales.
It was more challenging that I expected, but finally on August 9, 2011 a new Sturgeon Nosed canoe was delivered into the world.
All joints were tied with artificial sinew. The paddle is traditional as well and made from ash.
Deep in thought? Harry's grandfather sat in this kind of boat a hundred or so years ago. It's like being in a time machine!
We also paddled with two people just fine. From here the canoe will be displayed during Sinixt festivals in September. Thanks Harry, for an interesting project!
- The Geography of Memory - by Eileen Delehanty Pearkes
- Canoe Paddles - by Graham Warren and David Gidmark
- Bark Canoes and Skin Boats - by Edwin Tappan Adney and Howard I. Chappelle
- Bark Canoes - The Art and Obsession of Tappan Adney by John Jennings
- The Canoe - by John Jennings
- Sources of the River - by Jack Nisbet