Outdoors blog

Educators invited to Kalispel Encampment; credit offered

Building a camas oven at the Kalispel Tribe Indian Encampment. (Courtesy photo)
Building a camas oven at the Kalispel Tribe Indian Encampment. (Courtesy photo)

NATIVE AMERICANS -- Enrollment is underway for the Kalispel Encampment, an educator's workshop June 28-30 with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians and the David Thompson Bicentennials Partnership.

Educators will bask in the Native American history and culture as it meshed with the fur-trade era in the encampment along the Clark Fork River near Thompson Falls.

Educators can earn credit, renewal units or clock-hours for requirements in Montana, Idaho, and Washington.

The general public is also invited, but space is limited.

Pre-register at the Montana History website.

Read on for details:



The encampment kicks off on Thursday, June 28, in the afternoon with fur trade-era demonstrations by the Thompson Falls Brigade, a welcome by Kalispel elder Francis Cullooyah, and supper catered by Shantel Revais. After a tipi-raising contest, preparation of camas bulbs, and the creation of an earth oven to bake them in, tribal elders from several different parts of the river will offer words around the campfire. This Thursday evening event is open to 150 participants

            Friday will be devoted to a variety of classes for a total of up 100 participants.  The schedule begins with coffee and tea at the fur traders camp, breakfast for participants, then the preparation and ceremonial lighting of the camas oven fire at 8:00 a.m. Attendees will have an opportunity to choose from a wide variety of morinng classes, then cycle through three more choices on Friday afternoon and Saturday.

            Instructors include some of the most respected Salish language speakers and tribal historians from the northern Plateau, including Johnny Arlee, JR Bluff, Francis Cullooyah, and Pat Pierre.

            Traditional craft and skill instructors include Victoria Bowman Leach, Davonica Browneagle, Wilma Cullooyah, Glenn Leach, Wendy Ostlie, Raymond Finley, and Tim Ryan. They will share their knowledge of tipi construction, fish traps and hooks, beadwork, basketry, weaving hemp cordage, and plant uses.

            Traditional meat drying will be overseen by Bill Tanner and Bob and Kelly Woodcock. A camas oven bake, which will form the center of the encampment, is under the charge of Arlene Adams.

            In additional to tribal language and culture, Friends of Spokane House instructors Dean Bakke, Tom Cornwall, Bill and Bob Delyea, Dan Day, Bob and Peg Twyman, and Mark Weadick will offer classes in traditional fur trade skills that cover aspects of fuel, cordage, food, sign talk, firearms, history, and women of the fur trade. The Northwoods Canoe Company will have replica fur trade canoes on hand for those who want to engage in a voyageur paddle on the scenic Clark Fork River.

            After a catered supper on Friday evening, the world-renowned Frog Island Singers will lead drumming and dancing.

            On Saturday afternoon, the cooks will open their camas bulb oven and share the same foods that Salish people offered to David Thompson and his crew two hundred years ago. This traditional feast will connect the evening meal with final words that will cap off the encampment.

Go here for further information and the online registration form, and click on “2012 teacher workshops.”

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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