Fibreglass replica of a Mi’maq birchbark canoe hangs in the Fairbanks Centre.

As indicated in a previous article a second canoe has been hung from the ceiling of the Fairbanks Centre.  The first one which was hung several years ago is a fibreglass replica of a Mi’maq birchbark canoe. The original bark version, after which this was patterned was a birch bark canoe constructed by a member of the Mi’kmaq community.  This fibreglass craft was constructed in the 1990s for the CBC to be used in the videotaping of a series of four programs on Mi’kmaq history which were used in schools.

It is important to realize the birch bark canoe, which was invented by the North American First Nations, was unknown in the rest of the world and without it the exploration of this Continent by the Europeans would have been next to impossible.  The bark or skin canoes were developed over the course of thousands of years by the natives of North America.  Champlain writes of his journey to the Great Lakes.  “There is no craft known to the Europeans except the canoe of birch bark with which the journey to the Upper Country can be made…”.

-Bernie Hart