This dugout canoe is made from a single yellow poplar tree. Southeastern Indians used a method that included cutting down a tree and setting small fires along the side. They allowed the fires to burn, turning the wood into ash, making it easier to hollow and shape. The ends of the canoe were cut and fashioned into points so that it could move in either direction. This canoe is 32 ft long and could have held about 16 people. The scalloped edges on the side are not an original design feature. When this canoe was pulled from the Cumberland River in the late 1700s, a farmer used it as a feeding trough for his animals. Their necks, rubbing against the wood for many years, created the curved edges.
Gallery: First Peoples
Accession Number: 91.11