Joe Martin’s father was a canoe maker and taught Joe and his three brothers the craft. Joe lives near Tofino and is a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, from the house of Nuukmis.
Tla-o-qui-aht people are part of the Nuu-chah-nulth language group, who live on the west coast of Vancouver Island and the most northern tip of Washington State.
So far Joe has built 35 canoes, each carved out of a single cedar tree. The longest is 36’, the shortest 16’. Joe cuts a tree in the forest, then uses a chainsaw, axes, adzes, drawknives, planes, and a sander to create the final canoe. Once the canoe is hollowed out, it is steamed with water and hot rocks so that the canoe becomes pliable enough to bend it so it becomes wider. We hope to show Joe’s canoes in our book on Northwest builders.
Joe’s daughter does tours of Clayoquot Sound in the hand-carved canoes. The tours leave from Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island and focus on native culture and the natural beauty of the area. Information can be found at a very classy website: Tlalook Cultural Adventures (out of Tofino)