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Birch Bark Canoe Maker

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Date: July 10, 2009
Contact: Gregg Bruff, 906-387-2607, ext. 208

Ron and Dylan build a birch bark canoe at the Miners Castle overlook.
Ron Paquin and Dylan Semansky build a birch bark canoe
NPS photo by Gregg Bruff
(Munising, Mich.) Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is celebrating Chippewa or Anishnabe culture by hosting a birch bark canoe maker. Ron Paquin, of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., is constructing a 12-foot long birch bark canoe of traditional materials and using ages old techniques from Thursday, July 9, through Saturday, July 11. The demonstration was made possible by a generous grant from the National Park Foundation.

The completed canoe will be used in the Lakeshore's Education Outreach program which serves over 2500 students annually. Dylan Semansky is working with Mr. Paquin as an assistant. Dylan is enrolled in the Munising Public Schools Indian Education Work Program.

Mr. Paquin is self-taught and has been building birch canoes and other traditional items such as makuks or storage containers, for over 20 years. As of last year, he had made 27 canoes of various lengths.

The demonstration is occurring at Miners Castle, the busiest day use area within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore where visitors enjoy viewing the Pictured Rocks Cliffs and Lake Superior. Lake Superior has been home to the Anishnabe for several hundred years and the Lakeshore portion of the shoreline figures prominently in their culture.

Did You Know?

The former Grand Marais Coast Guard Station now serves as a Ranger Station at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

When the 729-foot freighter S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald went down on November 10, 1975, the last land-based communication to the ship was from the Grand Marais Coast Guard Station. This station and the Munising USCG Station are now managed by Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. More...