Paul Wapato saws into the cedar log, working to form the timber into a canoe at the Nespelem Community Center, July 1.

Nespelem Community Center Director Dan Nanamkin and professional canoe carvers John and Isa Zinser are looking for community members’ help. 

In a project that has brought six logs from the Quinault Reservation to Upper Columbia United Tribes’ membership reservations, two Western Red Cedar logs have been donated to the Colville Tribes to be cut and chiseled into canoes.

The logs now sit in Inchelium and Nespelem.

In Nespelem, outside NCC, the log sits under a tent, wetted by sprinklers.

Nanamkin wants to develop the skills of canoe carving and involve the entire community in the project.

Next year, after the completion of the canoes, he is hoping to plan a canoe trek on the Columbia River.

As members of UCUT, the Spokane, Kalispel and Coeur D’Alene tribes also received the logs that traveled across the state.

On June 24, the Zinsers visited NCC to give a brief lesson on carving, and the couple will return from July 6-10.

“Need community members young and old to all come together and make this happen,” reads an advertisement published in late June via Tribal Broadcast email.

In 2012, the Zinsers worked with youth in Grand Coulee to build five Salmon Canoes. Upon completion, the canoes were brought up the Columbia River on a trip that Zinser meant to symbolize a return of the salmon above Grand Coulee Dam. 

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