The renowned birch bark canoe builder, Todd Labrador, a member of the Mi'kmaq Acadia First Nation, Kesputkwitk District, will be in residence at the Lunenburg School of the Arts (LSA) this fall to build a 4.9-metre (16-foot) traditional Mi'kmaq birch bark canoe.
"He is a knowledge holder and is currently the only practicing Mi'kmaw builder of birch bark canoes and is recognized for this rare skill," the school noted in a media release issued March 17.
The canoe will be constructed over a period of four to five weeks beginning September 7, and the school's studio will be open to the public during the making of the canoe as an educational opportunity for the community.
"This is an exciting project that will enable our Town and the greater community to view this renowned Indigenous artisan at work," the Honourable Wilfred Moore, volunteer chair of the school, stated in the release.
The LSA described Labrador as "an internationally known ... Mikmaq artisan/birch bark canoe builder whose art can be found throughout North America and Europe. "
He was raised on the Wildcat reservation in Queen's County, the son of Charlie Labrador, the first chief of the Acadia First Nation. His father, in turn, was closely connected to the land and was raised by his grandfather, Joe Jermey, who was a traditional birch bark canoe and basket maker.
"Todd creates art during the winter months and builds birch bark canoes during the summer months throughout the Maritimes. He enjoys spending time with family and friends sharing his knowledge and skills. He is forever thankful to all who has helped him throughout his journey," noted the school.
The LSA is a not-for-profit charitable arts organization located in old town Lunenburg. The school offers workshops led by professional art educators and working artists, and hosts concerts and community events.