HISTORY WAS MADE on Saturday August 16 when the Ohlone and friends got together to build a tule canoe and launch it on Lake Merced in San Francisco. It has been over 200 years since the once numerous tule canoes plied the waters of this important Ohlone lake. Many birds, trees, and people observed what had been common for several thousand years and then abruptly stopped. Let’s hope this becomes a regular event in San Francisco!
Tule reeds were cultivated and gathered from the lake. A small model served as a guide.
Canoe builders bind the reeds into bundles with rope. The bundles are then tied together in an ancient form.
A wood ladle is used to help tie it all up. A camera crew films the ends being lifted and tied.
Rico Miranda places a shell necklace on the prow. The canoe is carried to the water’s edge.
He looks a little tentative stepping in! The canoe is paddled on its maiden voyage.
A crowd of well-wishers observe from the lake shore. The canoe is buoyant enough for small groups.
The Ohlone Canoe project is a product of the three year collaboration between the Native American Cultural Center and the Neighborhood Parks Council’s “Nature in the City” program. NACC wishes to thank Jesse Stemmler, Rico Miranda, Isabel Wade, and the many others who helped to make this event happen. For more Nature in the City events, visit www.sfneighborhoodparks.org/nitc