Carved wooden canoe

This carved wooden canoe is one of three which were collected by James Murray Yale and later donated by Colin Robertson to the Literary and Antiquarian Society of Perth in 1833. A friend and colleague of Robertson, Yale joined the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1815 and probably collected this model while working in the Fraser River region. Made for trade, these models were regarded as curiosities by Yale, Robertson and their colleagues.p>

The model represents two men fishing for sturgeon and is carved from a single piece of cedar wood. Sturgeon inhabit all the major rivers of the Northwest Coast, and were an important food resource for Coast Salish people. Wooden spears with long shafts and a barbed fork, sometimes tipped with eagle feathers, were used to locate the sturgeon as they lay in the deep water of the Fraser River near Fort Langley, where Yale worked. He clearly witnessed this activity many times and left a written description, which has survived in the records of Perth Museum and Art Gallery.

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© Courtesy of Perth Museum & Art Gallery, Perth and Kinross Council. 1978.502.1

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