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The Ocean Blog

Using traditional tools, master carver Douglas Chilton of the Tlingit Nation chisels a red cedar log from the Alaska forest, gradually shaping it into a canoe. More about raven spirit can be found in...
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...
With the sun in its beak, a raven figurehead points the way for the Raven Spirit canoe, now on display at the Smithsonian Institution. More about raven spirit can be found in our Raven Spirit...
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...
Tlingit paddlers carefully lift the Raven Spirit canoe into Washington’s Potomac River for its ceremonial launch. 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...
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...
Excavations between 2002 through 2011 at Hare Harbor have shown that this site was a whaling and fishing station occupied by Basque and Inuit assistants ca. 1680-1730. Archaeologists have uncovered a...
For over a decade, Smithsonian Arctic Archaeologists have been investigating an early European whaling site at Hare Harbor in Quebec, Canada . The site and the artifacts that have been recovered has...
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 .
Jacqueline (Johnson) Peta, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians and member of Sealaska Corporation’s board of directors, sprinkles goose down on a traditional blanket at 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...
Fish spears and fish weirs—fish traps placed in rivers—are traditional ways of catching salmon on rivers. More about raven spirit can be found in our Raven Spirit featured story .
November is American Indian Heritage Month . Mark the occasion by learning about the Raven Spirit Canoe , a craft that was carved in Alaska by master carver Douglas Chilton of the Tlinget Nation. The...
A still from Sun Come Up , part of the 19th Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital.
As these models show, traditional canoes came in a variety of shapes and designs. Some of the models even include paddlers. More about raven spirit can be found in our Raven Spirit featured story .
Decorated ceremonial regalia—like this eagle claw holding a salmon, and the sculpin headdress—symbolize the importance of ocean fish to Native communities. More about raven spirit can be found in our...
With an abundance of salmon, early hunting and foraging societies were transformed into settled villages with expanding social networks and elaborate festivities. The festivities often included...
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