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Paddle

xaad áalaa “Haida paddle”
Language: Haida

Throughout the Winter and Spring when the weather was favourable they worked at their canoes, hollowing them out until they gradually assumed the conventional shape. The canoe makers were called Woodpeckers from the noise of their continual chipping.

—Charles Harrison, from “Ancient Warriors of the North Pacific,” 1925

Haida canoe paddles were made of red or yellow cypress and ornamented with clan crest designs to match images painted on the boat itself. The paddles have wide grips and pointed tips. With a full complement of paddlers (up to eight men and women) Haida canoes were swift and maneuverable. After contact with European traders, the Haida added sails to their boats.

Culture: Haida
Region: Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada
Object Category: Boats
Dimensions: Length 164.5cm
Accession Date: 1883
Source: James G. Swan (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E072675A