Canoe Paddle

About this object

History of use

This is a man's paddle. Its diamond shaped blade differentiates it from the woman's paddle which has a round or pointed end, while river paddles are distinguished by a triangular notch cut into the bottom of the blade (see Elmendorf 1960:188-189). Anthropologist Homer Barnett notes that: "Paddles were made of yellow cedar, yew and maple. Those of maple and cedar were painted, the men's being black, the women's red. A smoky pitch fire and oil gave an impenetrable black. Ocher or an alder-bark infusion supplied the red. Practically, the colouration protected the wood and, so some say, prevented the glint of sunlight on a moving paddle (1955:116)."


This painted paddle was made as a commission for the BC Arts and Welfare Society.

Cultural context

water travel; contemporay art

Physical description

Painted wood paddle with a design of an eagle lying on its back on both sides of the blade. The eagle is painted in black with white details and red feet. The remainder of the paddle is painted green, except for the end of the handle and a small area above the blade which are in the natural wood colour.