My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tule Boats

The last day I was at Malheur NWR,  my boss, Carla organized the annual tule boat-building day. Some of the Paiute Indians, with help from the YCC kids built a couple of tule boats.  Tule, a bulrush of the genus Schoenoplectus, grows in many of the wetlands of the west. It is full of pith and works like Styrofoam to help float things.

Boat building started with the gathering of the materials, the tules and cattails.

Carla hauling in tule
Braiding cattails into cords for tying the tules
The tules are first tied into bundles about 6 inches in diameter, using the cattail braid
Then the tule bundles are tied into a boat shape

This boat will be on display at the county fair

This boatbuilding is something the Paiute do with refuge personnel to help maintain their culture.