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Sometimes the “Watcher,” a raven with an irregular wing, monitored carver Douglas Chilton’s progress on the canoe from an overhead perch. More about raven spirit can be found in our Raven Spirit...
At a ceremony on the edge of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., Douglas Chilton and other members of the Native community officially name the canoe Raven Spirit and launch the craft. More about...
Douglas Chilton uses traditional carving tools to shape the Raven Spirit canoe. Chilton—a master carver and member of the Tlingit Nation—transformed the log into a 26-foot-long, traditional...
About 2,500 years ago cold climate brought the first Inuit peoples into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, off the coast of Eastern Canada. Early Eskimo groups, known as Groswater Dorset, occupied many sites...
The Raven Spirit canoe is now prominently displayed in the Smithsonian Institution’s Sant Ocean Hall—a reminder of how native peoples of the North Pacific honored and depended on the bounty of the...
Boats Connect Us to the Ocean More than any other objects, boats symbolize human connection to the ocean. As you look through the center of the Ocean Hall, past the model right whale , you can see a...
A 2011 excavation led by the Arctic Studies Center uncovered this fragment of decorated European stoneware called a bellarmine jug. Uncovering this fragment, that was likely manufactured in the 15th...
A still from Sun Come Up , part of the 19th Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital.
Explore the different cultures of the territory between the Arctic and Pacific oceans. The area is home to over 150,000 Indigenous residents, whose diverse languages and cultures are both a link to...
Travel to the ends of the earth—literally—and discover the polar ocean basins. Both the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean are defined by ice and dramatic shifts between endless day and endless...
As Chilton prepared the cedar for carving, he noticed a raven with an injured wing watching. Later, as he carved the canoe in Juneau, he again noticed a raven with an injured wing looking on. He...
Smithsonian surveys along the lower north shore of Hare Harbor in Quebec, Canada have revealed evidence of a long history of Native American occupation, beginning with the Maritime Archaic Indian...
To people living in warm climates, all ice looks the same. But if you live day-in and day-out on sea ice, like the Inupiaq people of Alaska, you would find that there are many kinds of ice, all...
Members of the Tlingit Nation celebrate the September 2008 opening of the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall. More about raven spirit can be found in our Raven Spirit featured story.
Members of the Squamish Nation paddle their canoe to a 1997 festival celebrating traditional Native canoe arts. Native peoples of the Northwest Coast believe each canoe has its own spirit. Designs on...
For over a decade scientists have been investigating an early European whaling site at Hare Harbor in Quebec, Canada . Located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, just south of the 16th century Basque...
Crafted from the skins of salmon, these mittens are naturally waterproof. They kept hands dry while paddling or working with fish nets. Learn more about Northwest Pacific cultures and marine life in...
Research at Hare Harbor in Quebec, Canada has revealed important clues about the connections between the Inuit peoples of Northern Canada and the Basque whalers of Spain and France. Excavations at...
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