The great cedar trees of the Pacific Northwest provided people with housing, storage, clothing, ceremonial items, and transportation (canoes). These trees were sacred and the felling of one was a religious act. Only a specialist could carve a canoe and as he carved, apprentices would learn by working with him. Everyone involved in the construction had to observe specific rules of behaviour.

I remember watching my father cut down a cedar tree from which he was to make a large dugout canoe. He carried out this work with great respect for the tree. He would talk to it as though to a fellow human being. He would ask the tree not to hurt him as he was going to change it into a beautiful object that was to be useful to him.

Peter Webster,
Ahousat, Nuu-chah-nulth
Canadian Heritage Information Network
The Canadian Canoe Museum; The Elliott Avedon Museum and Archive of Games; Musée des Abénakis; Museum of Anthropology; St. Boniface Museum; Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian; Woodland Cultural Centre; Sport Canada; 2002 North American Indigenous Games Host Society; North American Indigenous Games Council; Aboriginal Sport Circle

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