Image courtesy of artist 

Image courtesy of artist 

Birch bark canoes are no longer used for survival, but understanding their value will help connect our ancestors to our grandchildren in a way that encourages respect for our natural environment, respect for our traditions, and respect for ourselves.”
— Ronald J. Paquin

Ronald J. Paquin

 

TRIBE: Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa

MEDIUM: Birch Bark Basketry and Carving

LOCATION: Brevort, Michigan

 

2007 COMMUNITY SPIRIT AWARD HONOREE

2016 ARTIST IN BUSINESS LEADERSHIP

 

Ron, an elder of the Sault St. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a self-taught artist. He has built 21 full sized traditional burch bark canoes and over 15 models throughout the last 20 years. Ron uses all natural materials, most of which he gathers himself – birch bark cedar bark, red willow, diamond willow, sweetgrass, basswood, and spruce roots. Ron believes passing on his skills and traditional art forms in important as he is one of the last canoe makers of his tribe. As a result of his teaching others, members of his community believe they as well as the tribe and public will continue to heal and grow in understanding one another.

“I marvel at the ingenuity of whoever invented the first canoe, probably by trial and error and out of necessity for survival. Birch bark canoes are no longer used for survival, but understanding their value will help connect our ancestors to our grandchildren in a way that encourages respect for our natural environment, respect for our traditions, and respect for ourselves.” 

Currently, Ron is fullfilling his lifelong dream to open his own gallery/studio space in Brevort, Michigan.  Once open in the Spring of 2016, visitors will have the opportunity to not only purchase his beautiful pieces, but also be able to take birch bark workshops from the master himself.