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Hawaiian Canoe making

Discussion in 'Birchbarks, Dugouts and Primitive Craft' started by Treewater, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I just read an interesting short story of how Hawaiians went about making dug out canoes in days gone by. It mostly deals with selecting the right tree and involves searching for the right tree, sacrifice before the tree is cut down, (the usual pigs, fish, and sometimes humans) a ceremony when the tree is cut down, endless watching for omens, (noise from the tree as it is cut, birds flying overhead, etc.) and the following blessing of a priest: "Grant a canoe which shall be swift as a fish, to sail in stormy seas, when the storm tosses on all sides." More ceremony when the half finished log is pulled to the beach, then more when the outrigger is placed. Causes me to wonder if we ever had a patron saint of canoes or if canoes ever got blessed. As with all these things, I believe it is the impact on our sub-conscious that is most important, causing us to be more alert to danger or misuse.
    see: "Hawaiian Legends' by William Westervelt.
     
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I'd venture a guess that Pere Marquette blessed the whole fleet, for the Marquette & Jolliet expedition. Other Voyageur canoes were probably blessed by local priests as well.

    Just a guess, though...
     
  3. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

  4. OP
    OP
    Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    So to add to the story....seems some canoe tree cutter woke up each moring to find his canoe gone and the tree back in place. After several nights of this a chief stayed awake all night to see the fairies at work putting the tree back. Now I quote; "Laka (chief) caught the king of the gnomes and from him learned how to gain the aid rather than the oppositon of the little people. By their help his canoe was taken to the shore and fashioned into a beautiful shape for wonderful and successful voyaes."
    That's a lesson for life, not just canoes.
     
  5. Bob Holtzman

    Bob Holtzman Wannabe

    In choosing the right tree for a Hawaiian canoe, certain omens were observed: if a little bird called an elapaio alighted, that was good, unless he pecked at the tree: that was bad. The kahuna (lead canoe builder) would sleep at the base of a prospective tree. If he dreamed of naked people: bad. If clothed: good. More: http://www.indigenousboats.blogspot.com/search/label/Hawaiian%20canoes
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Thanks Bob, You have a good site to visit for those interested in canoes around the world. The bird is mentioned in my book and I suspect the "missionary mindset" found that rediculous but when we consider the bird as an indicator of insects it makes sense. The dream of people, naked or clothed comes up in other settings as well as canoes. I always consider dreams a subconscious message but how it works I am not sure.
     
  7. slidegear

    slidegear Alan Sidlo by default

    [​IMG]

    The Koa tree is treated with the highest respect before it is transformed into the canoe Mauloa.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Thanks Alan. I believe that idea of respect for the tree is also prevelent in Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest.
    I have cut down and cut to lumber enough trees on my land in Washington State to understand the feelings that go with this.
     

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