TLINGIT INGENUITY & TECHNOLOGYGOLDBELT HERITAGE FOUNDATIONINVESTIGATING TLINGIT ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE
What does it take to thrive in Southeast Alaska?Focused observation over generationsTrust for inherited wisdom from ancestorsQualitative oral recordLife-encompassing moral codeRespect for the interconnectedness of everything (awareness of the metaphysical)
What else?Deep understanding of ecological conditions bedrock geologysurficial geology & soilsclimatemarine ecology & oceanographyvegetationfish & marine invertebrateswildlifehuman relationsAbility to move great distances for trade, safety, and defense (navigation, transportation)Fishing technology & gearFood preservation
TransportationSoutheast Alaska requires inter-coastal waterway travel in difficult conditions (low visibility, wave and wind variability)Knowledge of the Interior navigationGood relationships for trade, design of canoes came from Haida
Understanding Boat TechnologyPLANING BOATSBottom is a flat line to sternAt rest, uses hydrostatic lift (buoyancy)At speed, uses hydrodynamic liftHull comes almost entirely out of water at high speeds DRAFT AS SPEED Powerboats need high power engine to overcome gravity to planeDISPLACING BOATSHull below water, at high speed appears trapped behind a bow waveSpeed limited by waterline and displacement weightRelies more on hydrostatic liftSpeed determined by distance between bow and stern waves DRAFT AS SPEED Higher resistance because bow is trying to climb waves while stern is being sucked back down by dynamic forces
Are Tlingit canoes planing or displacing boats?In this picture, huge amount of the hull is below the waterline (not able to be seen)Displacing hull speed video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lffCqqluYIPlaning boat demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyME1EDreNg
Specialized Features of Boat HullsRockerForward flotation/extended forward floatationWave blocking devicesBulbous bows and bow wave dispersion devicesC-shaped double ender
RockersFlat bottom boats do not have rockersIn Southeast Alaska, the design is necessary to withstand the waves and wind
Does the Chief Shake canoe have a rocker?
In addition to rockers, many of these early engineering devices are seen in most boats todayExtended forward flotation devicesWave dispersion devicesLarge bulbous bows to draw boat up onto the wave
Elsewhere in Alaska.
Based on the shape, what are these boats used for?Water-line length?Rocker?Forward bow flotation?Bulbous bow structure?
More influences on todays technologyToolsAdzeHalibut hooksFood Preservation techniques:DryingSmokingOilsFermentation
Food PreservationSMOKING:Region-dependent wood useCottonwood in Chilkat region (Klukwan)Alder throughout SoutheastAlder contains toxins that help eliminate bad bacteria during smoking processSmoking also evaporates water (preventing growth of bacteria)Aas Kwaani-the Tree People communicate with one another (evidence in oral narratives)chemical communication between root systemsone alder will alert the grove to raise levels of toxins when deer are grazing nearby
Food PreservationDRYING:Water removal inhibits growth of microorganisms (evaporation through sun or wind drying)
OIL AS A PRESERVATIVE:Hooligan and seal oils were used to preserve fats and meatPrevents oxygen from reaching the meat, depriving bacteria of basic needs
Food PreservationFERMENTATION:Occurs in oxygen-deprived environmentsMetabolic process that converts sugars into acids, alcohols, or gasesWine and beer fermentation is relatively safe and controllable because adding yeast means that the yeast outcompetes other microorganismsFermentation of meat is more high-risk and can be fatal if done wrong
Fermentation ContinuedBio-preservation adds lactic acid When the fish muscle drops below a pH of 4.5 it greatly inhibits microbial growthTraditionally, fish pits were dug and plant material and sticks were added into the pitToday, plastic gallon jugs and bags are usedIncreased risk of Botulism caused by the Botulinum bacteria which thrives in anaerobic environments
Images & ReferencesSlideshow modified from Henry Hopkins, Helen Watkins, and Fred Whites presentation during pilot classWikimedia Commons Images:Albacore Dinghy-Dabbler 2005Imperial War Museums A-724-Royal Navy Officer Tomlin 1940Archimedes; Principle-Finot 2006Carving adze-Waldo Brown 1910Walrus meat-Ansgar Walk 1999Tlingit canoe-SMU Central University Library 1887Chief Shakes canoe-University of Washington Libraries 1916Halibut Hook-FishEx Alaska Seafood