Nuu-chah-nulth or Kwakwaka’wakw model sealing canoe

Date:
unknown, but before 1930
Record:
RBCM 14097 a, b
Materials:
wood and paint

This model in carved and painted wood shows two seal hunters, one steering the canoe and one about to spear a seal. They have already had some success: there is a seal in the bottom of the boat. Models like this were often made for both the souvenir and ethnographic trades. The model was collected in the region of Quatsino Sound between 1928 and 1930 but there is no additional information about its origin. The place of collection may indicate a Kwakwaka’wakw or Nuu-chah-nulth manufacture. Nuu-chah-nulth hunters were active in commercial pelagic sealing. Around the turn of the 20th century, two-man Nuu-chah-nulth crews, each with their own canoe, went every year to the Bering Sea on commercial sealing schooners. Some of these voyages ended in tragedy; on one, a storm killed 40 seal hunters from three schooners.

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This object selected by Dr Martha Black.