QAJAQ Journal


Message From the Editor

Welcome to the Qajaq Journal. The increasing popularity of skin on frame kayaks and native style paddling techniques in the past few years has been astonishing. The ranks of those who have abandoned their wide recreation paddles in favor of a leaner and more elegant means of propulsion seem to be growing daily. The creation of Qajaq USA, reflects this developing interest. Our primary goal as an organization is to promote the growth of Greenland style kayaking. We seek to accomplish this through our web site and forums, by sponsoring and participating in kayak symposiums as well as supporting the publication of our member newsletter The MASIK and this Journal. Qajaq was journal cover collageconceived as a venue for the publication of serious scholarship about northern native watercraft.

In my opinion, our tendency as enthusiasts has been to focus mainly on the boats and paddles while neglecting the history and the larger cultural circumstances of their creation and use. We often miss the important fact that for northern natives  the kayak and Umiak existed as a means to an end and not an end in and of themselves. It is clear that hunting was the primary purpose these boats were built. I will try and include a native voice in every issue of the journal in the belief that what will result is a deeper appreciation and understand of the watercraft as well as the cultures that created them.

The Arctic is a geographically vast place with a complex history. The development and use of kayaks and umiaks played a significant part in that story. While for the most part the focus of the journal will be on kayaks I will also on occasion include articles on the other forms of watercraft that were or are in use in the North. The often neglected umiak which was in use across the Arctic, the kayak-form canoes used by sub-arctic Indians, improvised floats and motorized freight canoes, to name but a few, are all deserving of study. In future issues of Qajaq I will seek to offer our readership an interesting mix of history, technique and ethnographic accounts that will cover the wide range of watercraft used and developed by northern peoples.


Vernon Doucette

The latest volume of the Qajaq Journal is available only to Qajaq USA members. Other volumes are available on the Online Store.

Qajaq Journal Volume 6

Qajaq Journal

Published 2016.
Volume six contains the first English translation of the kayak and rolling sections of Paul-Émile Victor and Joëlle Robert-Lamblin’s La Civilisation du Phoque (The Civilization of the Seal). This was made possible by the generous permission and support of his daughter and executor of his estate Daphné Victor and the co-author and editor of text Joëlle Robert-Lamblin.
Read the Letter from the Editor »

Letter from the Editor   Vernon Doucette
Introduction    Dr. Joëlle Robert-Lamblin
Some Introductory Remarks    Paul-Émile Victor
The Techniques of Travel    Dr. Joëlle Robert-Lamblin
The Kayak    Dr. Joëlle Robert-Lamblin
Some notes concerning the phonetic transcriptions used by Paul-Émile Victor    Paul-Émile Victor and Dr. Joëlle Robert-Lamblin
The Kayak and its Accessories    Dr. Joëlle Robert-Lamblin
Kayak Rolling    Paul-Émile Victor and Dr. Joëlle Robert-Lamblin
Paul-Émile Victor: A biography    Daphné Victor
Paul-Émile Victor's Works Relating to the Inuit and their Culture    Daphné Victor
A Short Biography and Select Bibliography of Dr. Joëlle Robert-Lamblin    Dr. Joëlle Robert-Lamblin
Qajaq Notes    Vernon Doucette


Qajaq Journal Volume 5

Qajaq Journal

Published 2015.
Volume five contains a chapter from H.C. Petersen, Kayaks Outside Greenland, that is missing from the English edition of his seminal work, Skinboats of Greenland. Translated and published in English for the first time.
Read the Letter from the Editor »

Letter from the Editor   Vernon Doucette
Kayaks Outside Greenland    H.C. Petersen
Notes on an Atlantic Labrador Kayak    Arima, Doucette, Fuller
Kayak-post: Kayaking with a vocational slant    Martin Nissen
Book Review: Kayaks of Greenland    Jarmo Kankaapää
A Coast Paallirmiut kayaker of West Hudson Bay from 1912   Eugene Arima
Centerfold is an Atlantic Labrador Kayak surveyed by Doucette, Fuller and Arima. Drawing by Harvey Golden.


Qajaq Journal Volume 4

Qajaq Journal

Published 2009.
Volume four is a translation of Pawlata's "Tip Tip Hurray" from the original German text.
Read the Letter from the Editor »

Letter from the Editor   Vernon Doucette
Introduction to the Translation   Vernon Doucette
Tip Tip Hurray! [Rolling] in the Eskimo-style Kayak   Edi Hans Pawlata
Three Years Doing the Eskimo Roll ...How About You?   Franz Schulhof
Centerfold is the AIJUK faltboot (Greenland type).

Qajaq Journal Volume 3


Published January 2006.

Volume three is a special double-issue that contains the first English translation of Kajakmänner (Kayak-Men), originally published in 1896. This is a compilation of first person accounts of life in Greenland in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Read the Letter from the Editor »

These stories allow native authors to speak to us directly, relating tales of kayaking, traveling, and hunting, and helping us to learn a little about their lives of 150 years ago.

Letter from the Editor  Vernon Doucette
A Fishing Trip  Kristoffer Nielsen
Hunting Adventures  Aparavigssuak
A Hazardous Mail Journey Over the Ice  Casper Nielsen
My Journey as Pilot with the Americans  David Danielsen
On Circumstances which Exposed me to Danger  Karl Olrik
News from Kagssimiut  Peter Motzfeldt
Adventures and Observations on Things I Have Experienced  Petrus Lynge
On the Sinking of our Umiaq  Ignatius
What Happened One Time to the Seal Hunters at Kangamiut   Jens Kreuzmann
A Dream   a Holsteinborger
Hard Work Pays Off  Anonymous
On the Kivitut Question  Hans Rasmussen
A Bear Story   J.H
From Winters and Summers Past   Morten Egede
Gidion Kayaitsch Tells of Katharine  Robert
The Bear in the Window Opening  Robert
Centerfold is an 1878 West Greenland Kayak survey by Harvey Golden (2003).

Qajaq Journal Volume 2

Qajaq Journal Cover Volume 2

Published November 2004.

A tribute to John Heath and his work.
Read the Letter from the Editor »

Letter from the Editor  Vernon Doucette
The Kayak of the Eskimo  John D. Heath
The World's (One-time) Best Eskimo Kayakers of King Island John D. Heath
The Central Yupik Kayaks  John D. Heath
Kayak Sports and Exercises  H.C. Petersen
On the Peril which befell Amaeses's Son Joel About the Time He Began Fishing with Bladders  Ungaralak
Grail II Revisited  Eugene Arima.
Centerfold is a 1904 Point Hope Alaska kayak survey by Heath and Kappler.

Qajaq Journal Volume 1

Qajaq Journal Cover Volume 1

Published July 2003.

Inaugural issue.
Read the Letter from the Editor »

Letter from the Editor   Vernon Doucette
The Walrus-pull   Greg Stamer and Pavia Lumholt
A historical reprint of On incorrect models and faked antiquities   Morten P. Porsild
Kayak Hunting in the East Canadian Arctic as told by Uyarasuk and Piugaattuk, edited by Eugene Arima
'Grail One' and 'Grail Too' (an evaluation of two ivory skin boat models from Saint Lawrence Island, Alaska)   Eugene Arima
An Annotated Bibliography of Gino Watkins, the British Arctic Air Route Expedition 1930-31 and the Pan-American Airways East Greenland Expedition 1932-33 edited by Vernon Doucette.
Centerfold is a pre 1866 West Greenland Kayak by Harvey Golden.


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