Steve Cayard - Birchbark Canoe Builder

Penobscot Nation, Indian Island, Old Town, Maine,


About the workshop

I led three birchbark canoe building workshops at Indian Island, the Penobscot community in Maine, on invitation from Chief Barry Dana.  Each resulted in an 18-foot birchbark canoe in the old Wabanaki style, and all three canoes belong to the Penobscot Nation.  The first two workshops, in the summers of 2002 and 2003, were each three weeks long, with around 12 participants, along with the support of the entire community.  The 2003 workshop was funded by the Maine Arts Commission.  Then, with a grant from the National Park Service, an extended canoe building project was begun in the fall of 2003, and finished in the spring of 2005.  This included the entire building process, with the group gathering and preparing all the canoe materials from the forest, and it also involved assembling a complete tool kit for future use. These workshops were documented by D'Arcy Marsh, in a film on Vimeo.
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