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HomeQAJAQ 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 website and forums, by sponsoring and participating in kayak symposiums, as well as by supporting the publication of our member newsletter The Masik and this Journal. Qajaq was journal cover collage conceived 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 the 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

QAJAQ Journal - Volume 6

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

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

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 they help 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

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

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 to 1931 and the Pan-American Airways East Greenland Expedition 1932 to 1933—Edited by Vernon Doucette.
  • Centerfold is a pre 1866 West Greenland Kayak by Harvey Golden.

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