Pien makes a canoe: Innu canoe-making project

In the summer and early fall of 2002, Innu Elder, Pien Penashue, from Sheshatshiu, Labrador, built a canoe for the Innu Exhibit at the Provincial Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador at The Rooms in St. John's. His son, Melvin, and his nephew, Alistair Pone, were apprentices. Anthropologist, Peter Armitage, documented the process, and CBC Television visited on several occasions to film the canoe-making and interview Pien, Melvin, Alistair, and others with the view to making a documentary film.

The Innu name for the type of canoe made by Pien and his apprentices is katshishtashkuatet, from tshishtashkuan - nail.

The tools: axe (ushtashku), wooden wedge (utakan), wooden maul (utamaikan), crooked knife (mukutakan), pestle (mitunishan), hand plane, electric planer, chainsaw, metal rasp, handsaw, hammer.

The materials: white spruce (minaiku), nails, canvas, metal strapping, green & gray paint.

The Process

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