Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Field Trip Summer: The Spokane House

Not the Christmas Card I was hoping for, but good enough. ;)
Our field trip last week was to the site of the first white settlement in the area.  It had been the site of many traditional gatherings of the Spokane Tribe, especially during the time of the salmon run.  On this particular day, the Spokane House was having a Fur Encampment, which was basically a bunch of history buffs doing a pretty darn good job of recreating some of the setting of the area in 1812. After visiting the small museum and viewing the artifacts, we moved on to the encampment.

Our first stop was a tipi booth with a guy from the Spokane Tribe.  He gave excellent information about the diet and lifestyle of the local natives.  There were lots of things to touch and taste, including camas root which we eventually decided tasted like a carrot with no sugar.

Muskrat, squirrel, and beaver tail.
Reading the instructions....
Most of the characters made their own costumes, props, tools, weaponry and shelter.  They were all open to questions and enjoyed talking about their passion.

A few years ago, I started building a tipi.  I built the skeleton and intended to cover it with a living vine of some kind, rather than canvas.  Other things got in the way and I never followed through.  Throughout the event, each of the kids requested we try again with the tipi.  
It was a great idea. I'll have to give it another go!

Each trader showcased a skill or craft from bullet making (melting down the lead rod and pouring it into a mold, etc), candle dipping, rope making, stretching beaver pelts, cooking apparatus and so on.  Most of the people were men, but there was one woman representing the necessary contribution of the women of the time.  She addressed herbal medicines, working of the skins, sewing the leather (which men did also, to some degree), tending the children and preparing much of the food. I appreciated her showcasing the female contribution.  Team work was the name of the game for the early traders, trappers and pioneers.

I am a serious lover of history and could have talked to these guys for hours.  Some of the children were more interested than others, though, to their credit, there was no complaining and everyone had good attitudes.

 Even from this guy.  It was a cool day and there was an on again off again drizzle of rain during our visit. 
 Isaac kept saying he was cold.  I offered a jacket or a blanket from the car.  
"I need the TV to get me warm!" 
Pfft. City boy.

The second field trip was informative and fun.  I'm asking the children to write papers about each of our field trips during the summer.  I'll be interested to see what jumped out at them enough to want to write about it.

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