Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Traditional Knowledge

As a kayaker, I often think about the roots of the boat I paddle. It interests me to know that I paddle a craft with a long history, one that is spread across the arctic world from Siberia in Russia, through Alaska, Canada and onto the eastern shores of Greenland. The people who developed these craft and paddled them ever eastward, changed them to suit their needs. They told stories about them and incorporated them into the wider culture they lived within.

From time to time, we outsiders are given a glimpse into this world. Usually it is a view through the eyes of another outsider who was able to visit that culture and form an impression and pass it along. Sometimes, more rarely, we get a direct view and can form our own impressions. The site Traditional Knowledge is a combination of these two points of view. While the site was designed by the Francophone Association of Nunavut, many of the pieces are taken directly from stories and information provided by Inuit Elders. All very interesting. Have a look for yourself!

Photo Credit: Library and Archives Canada / PA-165664


Silbs said...

Michael, some of your best and most interesting stuff is when you write on this subject. I suspect other paddlers hunger for this knowledge as much as I do. I wonder who might write a book about the roots of our sport?

Richard Hayes said...

Good idea, that book..you should get cracking on it soon as that lake of yours finally freezes over :->))
The link below should take you to some amazing pix of early Labrador kayaks - they are from the THEM DAYS archives. If you don't know THEM DAYS, you should - it is an invaluable resource for anyone who has an interest in Northern life before the Southerners arrived and started "improving" things. The late Doris Saunders devoted her life to THEM DAYS, and it is an incredible treasure-house of information about Labrador.

Hans Heupink said...

Hi Michael!
Thanks for the interesting weblinks. Great posts!