Toy Canoe from Ozette Wet Site–reply to Alan Hoover

Alan and all:  I have some pictures of a toy canoe being excavated from the Ozette Village wet site houses and will post them here.  Does anyone else from around the world have toy canoes from their wet sites?  Certainly museums have several models made when canoes were remembered in this manner and sold as tourist items (one Makah model from US Smithsonian Museum pictured here). 

Today there has been a big revival of canoe carving and journeys along the Northwest Coast–called Canoe Journeys or Paddles.  The next one is a Paddle to Quinault this summer.  Thousands of mostly Native Peoples attend–all are welcome for a week of Potlatching.  Akira Matsui and his friends frequently visit our sites during the Canoe Journey (see his report here from last summer) so they can attend these huge celebrations. 

 A good web site from last year’s Paddle to Squaxin–the community I worked with on the Qwu?gwes Wet site–is: and view their amazing photo gallery–and come this summer.  We can all camp together on the Washington West Coast for a week of celebration!  Aidan can bring his kids!  And Francesco can work on his new book–it will be an official NewsWARP Coordinator meeting with Akira and friends.  Dale


  1. Alan Hoover says

    Love the third photo. The artifact is so pristine, no evidence of warping or splitting. It is a typical Nootka/Chinook-style canoe very similar in shape to the canoes that John Webber sketched at Friendly Cove in 1778 (See British Museum photo AN0034429_001.)

  2. says

    Alan: Yes wet site wood and fiber artifacts are often beautifully preserved. Basketweavers are often amazed how fresh baskets look after hundreds if not thousands of years. If the proper preservation process is followed (usually with PEG and best following CCI guidelines) the artifacts become stabilized and remain in good shape.

    The mudslide at Ozette occurred around 1700 so not surprised this toy canoe looks like Webber’s drawings. I suspect it is a child’s toy in the Ozette setting, versus a model as seen made in later years after contact and often for sale to tourists and Museums(!). Thanks, Dale

  3. Gene Woodwick says

    Fianally–I have long wondered about the canoe. It brings back memories to me. When we moved to Washington State there was an old Indian (approximately 80+) who lived under and in a wooden wheel barrow who made me little canoes to float in Padilla Bay. But, it certainly was a little more broad and not painted like this beauty. What a wonderful discovery.

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