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 On Exhibit

Great Whale River Elder John Kawapit built this canoe in 1978. During its construction, he would imitate the call of the young loon, the bird that inspired both the character of this canoe and the songs he sang while building it. This is the meaning of some of the songs John sang while building this canoe: “At least there is something with which I can make a living.” John tells us that there are few men nowadays who can make all their equipment, including canoes, with their own hands. He can build everything he needs in order to live alone in the bush. Even if he is not as powerful as some men, he is satisfied. “My crooked knife will do all the work.” Before John starts to build his canoe, he goes out to get his wood. He feels that one of the trees is guiding him towards the right one to use. The first thing he does is cut the tree with his axe; later he finishes the carving of the canoe with his crooked knife.





The Community’s Way of Life

Lending Institution / Lender

Canadian Museum of Civilization

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