Thanks, Robert. Didn't mean to sound scathing, just critical.
I'm pleased to meet up with someone else who likes Cronon. He's been a big influence for me since I discovered "Changes in the Land" almost twenty years ago.
I protest that I'm not postmodern, at least as I understand the term. For example, I am so anachronistic as to believe that some civilizations are superior to others. Perhaps I'm "pre-modern."
Not all descriptions or conclusions are reductions, if reduction is to have any meaning. I disagree, in part, with your notion of reduction, if you'll permit a quibble. For example, I am using a "keyboard" to type this message. Specifically, I am not using an "idea of a keyboard" or a "representation of a keyboard." My point is that in this case "a keyboard" is not a "reduction" - the object itself is not its reduction. As you seem to use the term with regard to the canoe, any reference to an object or representation is a reduction, whether connotative or denotative. If "a canoe is just a canoe" is a reduction, what can you say about "canoe" that is not "reduction?" And if everything is "reduction" how, then, can you assert that reductions "completely undermine the complexity of lived experience and our interaction with the world natural or otherwise?"
"I championed the idea of Champlain as a malevolent figure only to display the multiplicity of interpretations embedded in the artifact and to draw controversy."
I don't believe this. Besides, favoring one interpretation over another is not failure; some are more correct than others. Your remarks about Champlain - "without giving credit" - "horrid colonial" - suggest that you have arrived at conclusions about his malevolence, your disclaimer notwithstanding.