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Model canoe

Yámana model canoe
ca. 1900
Navarin Island, Antártica Chilena Province, Chile
Beech bark, wood, whale gut, plant fiber, turf
75 x 21 x 14 cm
Collected by Charles W. Furlong

Canoes were essential to Yámana life. All adult men owned a canoe and were of necessity married, as it was their wives who paddled and steered the canoe and maintained the fire that was kept going (insulated by sod) at the bottom of the canoe. Through the 19th century, Yámana families used bark canoes to harvest the rich marine life around Tierra del Fuego. The gear on this superbly rendered model of a moon-shaped, bark canoe includes turf for making fire, paddles, a harpoon, a dip-net lashed to the end of a pole, a bailer, a storage basket for carrying shellfish, and a mooring rope. Poignantly, this model dates to the period when the Yámana people were severely threatened by the sudden and dramatic increase of settlers to Tierra del Fuego.

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