The University of Massachusetts Amherst

In Pictures

Birch Bark: Constructing a Canoe to Understand Native American Culture

The image above shows a detail of the birch bark canoe built by UMass Amherst and Five College students during a year-long course under the direction of Howard Kimewon, a native Anishinaabemowin speaker born and raised on the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve and a visiting lecturer in Anthropology at UMass Amherst. Studying the endangered Ojibwe language as well as building the canoe allowed students to learn first hand the importance of water in the Anishinaabe language and culture indigenous to the Great Lakes region. Kimewon and the students successfully launched the canoe on Puffer’s Pond near the University, perhaps the first birch bark canoe to sail locally in 300 years. Learn more.

Image credit: Ben Barnhart