Carving out history
BY ALYSSA MEIER
“This is how they did it,” he says, as he swings the ax downward, skimming off a layer of wood and raising the sole of his boot as the blade comes to a stop near his heel.
“You have to lift your toes, just in case.”
Jeremy Duckwitz worked away at his dugout canoe Saturday and Sunday during Explorer Days at Fort Mandan, rolling the wood from one side to another to even out spots that weren’t quite right.
“The bottom isn’t quite flat enough,” Duckwitz said, adding that the canoe was a little “rolly polly” when he tested it last summer.
Duckwitz has been working since last year to carve the cottonwood log into an authentic canoe, similar to what would have been used on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
“They made 15 of these during the expedition,” Duckwitz said. “Six of them here at Fort Mandan.”
A history fanatic, Duckwitz said books and journals have been his only guide throughout the process. He said he was always intrigued by tales from the past and that the canoe project provided a way to connect to the history he loved.