This wisalpó’s lipí (canoe paddle) is one of only a handful of known Columbia Plateau paddles. This type of paddle shows up in several historical images from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. It was designed to function both as a paddle and pole. It was ideally suited for the river conditions found on the Clearwater and Lower Snake rivers. The extra length made the paddle suitable to either paddle or pole from the standing position. Its shape provided extra strength when used as a pole, either to push off the rocky bottom or to hold the canoe against the bank. However, there was also sufficient blade for paddling and steering.
Cedar. L 176.5, W 5 cm
Nez Perce National Historical Park, NEPE 1090