Birch bark canoe artists keep Native American tradition afloat

Capital News Service
LANSING — When Tom Byers first laid eyes on a birch bark canoe, it wasn’t what he saw that captivated him most. It was what he heard. “I hesitate to say the canoe spoke to me, but that’s what happened,” said Byers of Whitefish, Ontario, who has built 74 of the vessels. “It was almost as if there was a spirit that was communicating telepathically with me from this birch bark canoe that I saw. It was really a powerful experience for me.”

Byers, a descendant of the Canadian aboriginal group Métis, is part of a movement to revive a craft once key to traveling the Great Lakes region.