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Birchbark Canoe Maker 

Folks visiting the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor Wednesday could learn what goes into building a birchbark canoe.As Meghan Hayward tells us, it takes great skill and many hours of work.”I was raised by my great grandfather. While my mother and father worked, he took care of me. He was an old time builder so he gave me a lot of inspiration to keep building these canoes and to continue the tradition.”David Moses Bridges says it takes 500 hours to build a birchbark canoe.He says there are some essential things to know to successfully make one.”Understanding the forest is the most important part. To gather these materials, you have to be very aware of where the materials are growing and the nature of the forest that you’re in.”Bridges says the gathering part is his favorite step in the process.He’s made about 20 canoes now and says it gets easier every time.”Well you learn from your mistakes, that’s common. You do things differently from one time to the next, unless you’ve figured it out. So for me, some parts of the construction are a little easier than they were at first because you learn from education you are providing for yourself.”Bridges says he’s happy to pass on that education to others too.”A lot of people think this is a part of history. But it’s not a part of history, it’s a part of our presence as Passamaquoddy people, as Wabanaki people. This is a part of our continuance of traditions, it’s not a part of our past.”Bridges will be doing more demonstrations on Sunday, August first and Wednesday, August fourth at the Jordan Pond House Lawn in Acadia National Park.If it’s raining, the demonstrations will be held at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor.