New book on making a traditional chaputs features master carver Joe Martin

Vancouver Island, BC

A new book detailing how to make a chaputs (cedar dugout canoe) from beginning to end by Nuu-chah-nulth master carvers is about to be released. Making a Chaputs – The Teachings and Responsibilities of a Canoe Maker was written by Master Carver Joe Martin and Alan Hoover, formerly a curator and manager at the Royal British Columba Museum in Victoria.

Joe Martin is a master carver from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. By 2014 he estimates he made more than 60 dugout canoes. The new book contains dozens of photos showing many of his works in progress along with finished canoes slicing through the ocean at various gatherings.

The 86-page book is loaded with 76 beautiful photos featuring canoe makers, mostly from Martin’s family. It describes the process of canoe making from tree selection to finishing touches.

“Tla-o-qui-aht master canoe maker Joe Martin, in collaboration with former museum curator Alan Hoover, describes the meaning and method behind one of the most vivid and memorable symbols of the Northwest coast: the dugout canoe,” reads the inside flap of the book.

Traditional dugout canoes have long been revered for their beauty and seaworthiness.

“Both artform and technological marvel, the chaputs carries Indigenous cultural knowledge passed down through generations, not only of the practical forestry and woodworking that shape every canoe, but also the role and responsibilities of the canoe maker,” says the book.

Martin also shares teachings and family history that he learned from his father – lessons passed down the generations from elder canoe makers to the younger generation. Also included are the spiritual teachings and the importance of giving thanks for gifts from the Creator.

The book will be available in both paperback and audiobook. To be released June 17, 2022, the paperback or audiobook will cost $24.95, and the eBook will sell for $13.99 in Canada.

Published by the Royal British Columbia Museum, Making A Chaputs, the Teachings and Responsibilities of a Canoe Maker can be ordered by calling Ampersand Inc at (604) 448-7111 in Vancouver, B.C. or (416) 703-0666 in Toronto.

Share this: