W’S’ANEC TRADITIONAL CANOES

An amazing ȽÁUWELEW tradition continues: The Peninsula Salish / W’S’ANEC People have found an ideal cedar log to create two traditional canoes. This tree, located just north of the Duck Pond was hit by lightning and has fallen over.

A Pauquachin carver Curtis Henry (always known as Spud), and others will be working just as their ancestors have done on the sacred mountain ȽÁUWELEW.

 

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/john_dean/

Please note: Pauquachin First Nation will be conducting cultural activities on their property IR#3 over the next few months, which is adjacent to John Dean Park. This will include the use of chainsaws. BC Parks is providing access through John Dean Park to assist Pauquachin First Nation in this endeavour. If you have any questions or concerns about this activity please call BC Parks at 250-391-2319.

 

 

STAGES OF CREATING A CANOE

 

1)      a portion of a fallen cedar tree is measured and cut to length,

2)      to raise the log above the ground, it’s rolled onto two smaller log lengths

3)      to establish the top and bottom of the canoe, two sides are cut flat

4)      the bow and stern are shaped inwards

5)      the inside of the canoe is hollowed out to approx. 3”

6)      the outside of the canoe is shaped

7)      twenty people carry the canoe out of the forest; transport to the carvers studio

8)      the outside is further shaped and finished

9)      on both sides, numerous holes are drill bow to stern, just above the bottom. 2” plugs are placed within to guide the carvers towards the desired thickness (usually 2”)

10)  when the canoe is completed, the stretching process begins. This task is usually conducted by families with long-time experience

11)  3-5” of water is placed within the finished canoe; very hot rocks are added to the water; plywood and plastic placed over to enable the softening of the cedar; using woodblocks starting from the center the canoe is stretched approx. 4”

12)  the plug holes are filled, the canoe is sanded and finished with art

13)  the canoe is blessed

 

EXCERPTS FROM JOHN DEAN’S CABIN DIARY

 

31 Aug 1916:   Not feeling well – moved cedar log shaped for canoe to widen road and blocked up on stones.

 

06 Apr 1917:   E.S. Wilkinson. Rainy day came with Mr. Dean from city, shot a bird. Drove Porters’ motor to West Road, Mr. Dean plant cabbage

(P) Fine morning showery afternoon. Left at 8am for Illahie with Ted Wilkinson, had waw waw at Turgoose’s. Mrs. Turgoose took us to north side, took up six bottles of old cardinal port. On way up found Isaac Bill shaping up canoe on my ground. Wilkinson and I had talk with him, telling him was on my ground, he said all right but if he wanted one more small canoe, I said all right but if he wanted more better ask me. Planted cabbage + cauliflower also wild flowers, usual concert, to bed tired.

 

28 Apr 1931:   Very fine, warm day. Busy brushing + burning, hard work. Mrs. Bloomquist very busy cleaning up. Both of us walk down to north boundary, found two Indians making canoe near first swamp and two more further down. One canoe 16’ and one 26’, beam in both cases 18”. Compiled answer Alexander Hamilton.

 

29 Apr 1931:   Blanche A. Thomson; Betty Bastin, left at 4:15pm – Very fine day brushing up bottom. Both of us working like Trojans until above-named came at 1:30pm. Went down to see Indians making canoes; one the smaller, much further advanced. Otherwise, uneventful. (11am 66, 12pm 68, 10pm 56)

 

10 May 1931: Mrs. Bloomquist arrive 10:45, Dr. + Mrs. Ellis + John Moor arrive, and self arrived at 11:15. All had a rum + water then meandered down to where Indians make canoes + back for a good lunch. Then looking through albums; then, up to summit and around to big rock and back for supper. Saw friends away at 6:25pm, then fixed drinking bucket. (10am 69, 9:30pm 57)

 

07 Oct 1931: Frank J.W. Benjamin, Montreal; Eslttle Bode, Jerusalem (the holy city), Cinlinnate – Arrived 11:45 with Mrs. Bloomquist and above-named; spent a very enjoyable four hours. Visiting the Indian, Joe Somers + his son, making a canoe. Then basked in the glorious sunshine, leaving at 4pm.

(P) Nice lunch, then loafed around, friends being reluctant to explore. Arrive home 5:45pm.

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