The Oldest Birch Bark Canoe in England?

By | Category: Travel news

You have until September to visit the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth where you can see what might be the oldest birch bark canoe in existence.. After then it will be going back to Canada where further research can be done on its origins.
This canoe seems to have had a chequered life. It was found in one of the barns of the descendents of John Enys. He probably brought it back from Canada (or the US) where he had been fighting in the American Revolution. So the canoe probably dates from sometime around the last quarter of the 1700’s.
A visiting expert, Henri Vaillancourt who is a co-founder of the Trust for Native American Cultures and Crafts has identified it as of the type that fits the date of Enys’s stay in North America. But which tribe built it? Or did Enys himself? Vaillancourt says that is identifiable with those constructed in southern Quebec by the Malecite and Abnaki tribes, but equally it could be Mohawk or Huron. He is fairly firm on the date however.
Perhaps because Enys brought it back, as a souvenir or a memory of his experiences there, and then stored it is the reason that it has survived. Most, I imagine would have been purely functional and, as they came to the end of their use they would have been just left, destroyed or maybe used as firewood. Did Enys keep a journal? If so, and it could be found, it would add more life to one of the most important finds that has been rediscovered in the last few years.


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