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The Kayak’s Cultural Journey

For millennia, indigenous peoples across the world have built and used wooden skin boats to fish and hunt, for sport and travel, even for warfare. Skin kayaks are the unique product of Arctic peoples, but nonindigenous admirers of the craft are making them, too. Does that matter?

By SIMON MORRIS

Watch “Mike Morgan’s Quest to Make Traditional Skin Boats”

Mike Morgan’s fascination with small, traditional watercraft dates back to the ’80s. Building on his decades of experience as a musical instrument maker and repairer, Morgan set out to deconstruct and understand the ancient kayak designs so he could make his own authentic boats.

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