At Frontier HQ we’ve watched this video documentary multiple times and love it.
It does a great job of blending the art, science and history of the canoe.
On the one hand, the canoe is a romantic vehicle of the past; on the other hand it remains the deeply practical craft it always has been.
The birch bark canoe is a near-perfect traditional design studied by modern engineers as well as built to this day by First Nations people who are proud to maintain their craft traditions.
The line up of academic and curators contributing to this video is impressive.
It’s always nice to hear Jeremy Ward speaking and whenever I do, I just want to get back to the Canadian Canoe Museum again for another visit – something we do at the beginning of our French River trip, that really sets the scene for the importance of the canoe in the history and culture of Canada and its people.
Our favourite line in the film, however, is from canoe builder Marcel Labelle…
“People ask me, where did you get this canoe? And I say, well I found it in the bush. Some assembly required.”
The Birch Bark Canoe: Navigating a New World is a 20 minute video resource commissioned by the partnership of Engineers Canada, Manitoba Aerospace, the Engineering Access Program and the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba. It is designed to be used in Manitoba classrooms to honour the contributions of First Nations peoples and to educate future generations about the art and science of the birch bark canoe.