HOW TO BUILD AN INDIAN CANOE by George S. Fichter

HOW TO BUILD AN INDIAN CANOE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A barely credited and deceivingly titled adaptation of Adney and Chapelle's The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America (1964). You do not learn how to build a canoe, you are told how Malecite Indians once built birch bark canoes. Adney reveled in measurement and minutiae, and little appears to have been deleted. The two major sections--construction of the canoe, tribe-by-tribe variations of design and use in three Canadian regions--are tangled and dense with information. These are sandwiched between an introduction and a brief chapter on the voyageurs' adoption of the canoe. The many potentially useful photographs and drawings lose in the presentation: few keep pace with the text, some are misleadingly captioned, some are superfluous, and one referred to in a caption is missing. The building of canoes is fascinating in the hands of a master like John McPhee, whose Survival of the Bark Canoe (1975) uses much of the same material; and the description of canoe construction in, e.g., Robert Hofsinde's Indians on the Move is much clearer. A supplementary choice at best.

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 1977
Publisher: McKay