Bateau-building project

Fort Langley National Historic Site

Pat Calihou, a Métis craftsman who lives in Maple Ridge, has completed construction on a new bateau exhibit on our site. Pat, has an interesting personal connection to the Hudson’s Bay Company’s boats.

A descendant of a long line of voyageurs, he’s been able to trace his roots as far back as his great-great-great grandfather, Louis Calihoux, born in 1782, who worked for the Northwest Company. His great-great grandfather, Michel Calihoo, born in 1823 worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company in Edmonton for nearly 30 years. Michel worked as a river boat pilot for the Hudson’s Bay Company from Athabasca to Fort Garry. 

Today, Pat is an active member of Métis Nation British Columbia and is committed to the revitalization of his Métis culture. He devotes his time to making a difference in the lives of Indigenous youth by sharing stories about his family history: their association with the fur trade, lands, treaties, canoeing, portaging and carving. He is a self-taught carver and has built a model Red River cart and a voyageur paddle for Fort Langley N.H.S. in 2018.

The new boat represents a traditional bateau that would have been used to transport goods during the fur trade in the Columbia District. The exhibit is now on display on the site. 

Pat Calihou, Metis Craftsman


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Métis Craftsman Builds a Traditional River Boat for Fort Langley National Historic Site


This is Fort Langley. A Hudson's Bay Company trading

00:07 post. Built in 1827 00:10 on the banks of the Fraser river. Once the centre of a trade network 00:14 connected by rivers Today visitors flow through 00:18 to learn about the history of this place 00:21 With the age of river travel all but forgotten Paks Canada commissioned Pat Calihou 00:27 a Metis craftsmen to build a new river boat exhibit on site. 00:32 Pat is a self taught carver and comes from a long line of Metis voyageurs. 00:37 The river boat will help connect visitors with the past. But perhaps the biggest 00:42 impact the boat project will have is on Pat Calihou. For it was Pat's 00:47 great great grandfather Michelle Calihou who worked as a riverboat pilot for the 00:52 Hudson's Bay company is Edmonton for many years transporting goods from Athabasca 00:57 to Fort Garry. He sees this project, as a way to pay tribute 01:01 to his ancestors. Being able to build this 01:05 boat is keeping their memory alive and giving other Metis people that connection 01:11 to come and see an actual real fur trading boat 01:16 The boat was built using plans drawn up in the 1980s, which were 01:21 more of a suggestion then a guide. Anyone can use power tools today right? But to 01:26 start something and. cut it all out and 01:28 do the thing the old way by hand. It's just something that we're not doing anymore. 01:33 was assisted during the process by good friend and talented craftsmen,Sean Anton. 01:38 Sean was the master fabricator on site during the boat building process. 01:43 The material were also sourced locally as they would have been using mainly 01:48 Fir and spruce lumber. They had to overcome many challenges. 01:52 Even crafting their own specialized tools and boat nails 01:55 from the blacksmiths shop. One of the teachings 01:58 is everything takes time. Doing things the long way, the hard way. 02:01 We didn't just wake up and have all this amazing technology. We had to 02:05 learn and grow as a people right? Pat hopes this boat 02:09 will help pass on the connection that he feels to Metis culture 02:12 to other people. For me it's not just a boat it's a 02:17 opportunity for me to represent my family, all the Metis people. 02:21 give them a connection It's really really a huge 02:24 deal for me. I'm honored to be able to do it.

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