Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952)

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Edward S. Curtis -   Plate 286 The Lower Columbia border=
Plate 286 The Lower Columbia
Portfolio, 18 x 22 inches
Vintage Photogravure
“The Columbia near its mouth spreads in a broad estuary between shores now low and flat and again bold and wooded. The conflict between winds, tides, and current sometimes raises seas that threaten even power-driven craft, and the natives who formerly swarmed in this region were necessarily clever canoemen.” – Edward Curtis

The canoe is about 30 feet in length, to cut through the waves and eddies. Carved out of one massive tree trunk, the design was practical and construction included sophisticated wood carving and bending techniques to make their dugout canoes swifter and more seaworthy.

On the bow of the graceful dugout canoe is what some white observers have presumed to be a decorative carving of a dog's head. On the contrary, it is a purely functional and indispensable feature of Columbia River and Northwest Coast canoe design–a notch and brace that a fisherman may use to steady his spear or harpoon.
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