Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

Related Objects

Canoe (model)

yaakw kayáa “canoe model”
Language: Lingít

They say that when one of these canoes comes to your village to pick up a young lady, and the person who is going to marry her is in that boat, all the young men have to come down and put a pole underneath the bow, all the way out in the deep water. They pick up the canoe and pack it up the beach just so this man will not get his feet wet.

—George Ramos, 2005

Large “war canoes” with projecting bows and high sterns were up to sixty feet long, with room for many passengers and thousands of pounds of gear and supplies. They served for coastal travel, trade, war, and relocation to seasonal camps. Haida men carved the canoes from tall cedar trees that grow in the Queen Charlotte Islands and traded them to northern neighbors. Elder Clarence Jackson said, “It was a sign of wealth when you had a Haida canoe.” They were painted with clan crests – on this model, a bear on the bow and a bird figure on the stern.

Culture: Tlingit
Region: Southeast Alaska
Village: Sitka
Object Category: Boats
Dimensions: Length 78cm
Accession Date: 1876
Source: John B. White (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E021595