West indian culture

Traditional carved canoes at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture | Community

Two traditional dugout canoes are being carved this spring by the Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT) in the Museum of Arts and Culture’s outdoor amphitheater for visitors to observe and learn about the process.

The canoe sculpture is part of the MAC’s exhibition, Awakenings: Traditional Canoes and Bringing the Salmon Home, currently on display until August 2022.

The carving takes place every Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until the end of May. This is a rare opportunity for museum visitors to observe the process.

Visitors are invited to meet the carvers, learn how and why these traditional canoes are created, see the tools and techniques, the significance and history, and learn about this important part of the tribes’ culture.

According to the press release, the “Awakenings” exhibit explores the history and recent revival of the annual Columbia River canoe trip and first salmon ceremony, the purchase of ancient cedar logs and carving. canoes at the annual launch and landing at Kettle Falls. . Elders from the area’s tribes worked to bring canoe building back to their cultures and the return of salmon to the Columbia River. Canoes have always been essential to the survival of tribes and their connection to rivers.

When the canoe sculpture at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture is completed this summer, a canoe will be launched in an inland river in the Northwest. It will also be available for the MAC to use in its future programs to illustrate the importance of salmon to the tribes of the region, as well as the revitalization of traditional shipping by the tribes of the Northern Plateau.

“The United Tribes of Upper Columbia are proud to hand-carve cedar logs at the MAC this spring, creating traditional dugout canoes,” said Marc Gauthier, wildlife program director at UCUT. It’s great to have the opportunity to share this important part of our tribes’ culture with the Inland Northwest community. We hope everyone will stop by to see the canoe making process in action and learn about the recent canoe trips of our tribes on the rivers in our area.

The project took nearly four years to mature.

“The North West Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) is honored to be part of this project, supporting the tribes as they create a carved canoe that will become part of the museum’s permanent collection. We are thrilled to partner with UCUT to showcase a functional and vibrant part of their cultures. Canoe carving is something that is rarely done in museums. We feel very fortunate that the Interior Northwest can experience this,” said Tisa Matheson, Curator of the American Indian Collection at the MAC and member of Nez Percé.

For more information, please contact Alison Highberger, Media Relations Specialist, Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, (509) 842-2943 or Carol Summers, Director of Marketing and Communications, 509-363-5325.

The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture is located at 2316 W. First Ave., Spokane.


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