Bonners Ferry, Boundary County, Idaho, United States, North America
FROM CARD: "RAM SHAPED CANOE OF BIRCH BARK, GUNWALE 3 STRIPS OF WOOD. RIBS NARROW STRIPS OF WOOD. DESCRIBED AND PICTURED P. 215 BULLETIN 127. USNM. & PP. 525-537, ANN. REPT. U.S. NATIONAL MUSEUM, 1899 - MODEL OF SAME TYPE. REFER TO. CAT. NO. 641." See related paddles E204586-0 and E204587-0.
From U.S. National Museum Bulletin 127, p. 215: "Birch-bark canoe. Type used by the Kootenay Indians of Washington State. It is made of a light wooden frame covered with spruce bark. Bow and stern are alike and terminate in ram-shaped points on a line with the bottom of the canoe; flat bottom; straight sides. Dimensions of canoe. - Length, 15 feet 7 inches; beam, 21 1/2 inches; depth, 13 inches; oval opening in top, 9 feet 3 inches long. Collected by Amherst W. Barber."
Correspondence from Amherst Willoughby Barber in the accession file indicates that the canoe, two paddles, and two pairs of snow shoes making up Accession 36096 were collected for the Bureau of American Ethnology in 1899 on behalf of Barber by William D. Saville of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, from the Kootenai of that area. When the artifacts were catalogued, Washington state, rather than Idaho, was erroneously listed as the locality.
Memo and shipping invoice in the accession file indicate that the canoe E204584 and the associated paddles E204586 and E204587 were accessioned January 31, 1900, catalogued in the Division of Ethnology and transferred to the Division of Mechanical Technology April 26, 1900. They were then placed on exhibit on the north wall of the Boat Hall, April 30, 1900. The canoe and paddles were officially transferred from the Division of Engineering to the Division of Ethnology June 23, 1947.
At the time of the transfer of the canoe and paddles to the Division of Mechanical Technology, George C. Maynard of that division wrote a long description of the canoe, which was included in the memo in the accession file dated April 26, 1900 documenting the transfer. The description follows: "Kootenay Indian Canoe ... This canoe is 15 ft, 7 inches long; 21 1/2 inches beam; 13 inches deep, with an oval opening in the top 9 feet, 3 inches long. It is made of a light wooden frame composed of thin strips placed longitudinally and running to a point at each end, held in place by 12 light wooden ribs, with three pieces of wood to form the gunwale. Over this frame wide strips of bark (supposed to be from the pine tree?) are laid with the outside of the bark against the frame, sewed together and lashed to the gunwale with strings of bark. The seams of the bark are covered with a thick layer of gum. The body of the boat is nearly round, slightly drawn in at the top. The ends are both alike. Each end terminates in a point on a line with the bottom of the boat and is closed in for about three feet forming a ram-shaped prow. The bark covering was badly broken when the boat was unpacked and was repaired by Museum workmen. With the boat there are two paddles numbered 204,586 and 204,587."