A dugout was a type of canoe used by many Algonquian tribes.
To make a dugout, a canoe-maker started by chopping down a cedar or an elm tree and setting the middle of the trunk on fire. Once the trunk was charred and the flame extinguished, the burned wood in the center would be dug out.
Large dugouts could carry as many as 30 people, but they were too heavy and awkward to take through the twists and turns of winding waterways. For this purpose, northern coastal tribes, such as the Narragansett, built their canoes from the bark of the birch tree.
Unlike dugouts, these canoes were lightweight and easy to handle in even the narrowest rivers and inlets.