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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



This thesis examines the history of New England’s dugout canoes – a history that can be traced from 8500 BCE to the twenty-first century. The historical record and archaeological evidence surrounding dugout canoes suggests that the use of dugout canoes changed significantly over time, and that their form varied considerably in different regions of New England. While historians have claimed that these varied forms represent European and colonial influences, I argue that the Eurcolonial influence on dugouts was much more visible in the way the canoes were used than in the shape the vessels took. In addition to analyzing the canoes, this study analyzes the ways in which dugout canoes have been exhibited and interpreted in museums and offer suggestions as to best practices in the interpretation of mishoonash as artifacts of contested cultural attribution.


First Advisor

Alice Nash