The First Canoe

A story has always been told that the Chitimacha learned how to make their canoes from the Great Spirit.

One day, the Great Spirit came and took several of the men out to the woods. The Great Spirit told them to take some mud, place it around the tree about shoulder high, set the trunk afire and let it burn until it fell. The mud was packed thigh high so that the fire could not go above it. When the tree had fallen, He showed them how to pick the right part of the tree and length that they needed for a canoe. The Chitimacha were then shown how to burn off the bottom and ends, also using the mudpack to control the fire. When the burning was complete, they were told to take clam shells and scrape all the charred parts off

With the outside complete, the canoe was set upright; a fire was made on the top of the log for the full length. This was left to burn the desired depth, and if they wanted to stop it from burning too much on the sides, they would pack it with mud so that the burning could go to the right depth. The canoe was then scraped in the same manner for the bottom.