My Last Canoe

Shared Spaces was fortunate to be involved in the 3D documentation of a traditional birch bark canoe created by master canoe builders Isaiah and Annie Roberts. 

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The Roberts’ detailed their canoe-making process for a film, My Last Canoe. The canoe constructed in that film is the same canoe that the Shared Spaces team had the opportunity to digitize before its repatriation. Please view the video below.

This particular canoe carries a fascinating story highlighting the importance of repatriation practices and how they can lead to connectivity, knowledge sharing, and healing. Shannon Boklaschuk has written a detailed article about the canoe's return, which was facilitated, in large part, by Shared Spaces Development Team member Terry Clark.

Please find the story of the canoe here: ‘It’s back home’: USask faculty members assist in repatriation of decades-old birch bark canoe.


Digitizing the Canoe

Before the canoe's repatriation to its home community of Grandmothers Bay, the Shared Space 3D Modeling team 3D scanned it to create a 3D model.  

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Canadian Craft Federation's Ten Digit Technology Conference

Shared Spaces presented the full-scale digital canoe through Augmented Reality alongside the actual canoe at the Canadian Craft Federations Ten Digit Technology Conference held at Remai Modern in March 2020. Read more about Shared Spaces presentation here: Canadian Craft Federation's Ten Digit Technology Conference 

Conference attendees could compare the two canoes and see the detail presented through the digital model.

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Through this process, USask explored a model of repatriation that honored the canoe and it's makers while also allowing it to remain digitally accessible for study and research purposes. 


Canoe at Remai Modern

In January 2022, Isaiah and Annie Roberts' digital birch bark canoe was featured in Canoe, an exhibition at the Remai Modern. Canoe "explores how works of art documenting the historical structure and usage of Indigenous vessels has played a role in carrying cultural knowledge forward". This augmented reality canoe is on view at the Remai Modern in their free Connect Gallery until May 8th 2022. You can also access the canoe from home on the Shared Spaces app under the Space titled My Last Canoe.