(STAFF REPORTS/Chewelah Independent)
Between the Rivers Gathering is a week-long workshop for learning skills that originated in the stone-age all the way up to modern homesteading. The event is May 27-June 1 in Valley and will have a multitude of instructors offering a broad range of classes all week long. For more information, go to www.betweentheriversgathering.com
Shaun has been practicing primitive skills and living history for years and has become proficient in many of the old skills including hide tanning, blacksmithing and tracking and trapping. He is also into historical trekking, has all the gear and accoutrements from the early 1800’s and will be demonstrating and teaching fur trade life and camp skills.
What is your background and how did you learn the skill/class you’re teaching?
My background is in fine art. In my 20s, I became fascinated with survival skills and stone age technology. I learned a lot from going to some of the primitive skills gatherings and by reading books. Around eight years ago, my interests in art, survival skills and local history started to blend together, and I found that I really enjoy studying about the early 19th century fur trade in the Pacific Northwest and doing living history interpretation. I like to put some of the primitive living skills into the context of a specific place, people and time period and be able to paint a picture, literally and figuratively, for the public about what life was like for the people involved in the fur trade.
Where are you from and what brings you to BTR?
I live in Priest River, Idaho. I come to BtR to see friends who I may only see once a year, have a fun camping experience with my wife and kids and to learn from other instructors.
What will people learn in your classes?
At BtR I dress as a trapper traveling with David Thompson’s fur trading expedition in the 1809-1812 time period and give talks about the fur trade history of the region, describing the North West Company forts, Spokane House and Kullyspell House. My presentations include a show and tell of the tools, clothing and camp gear that were carried by a trapper in this time.
What are some practical uses of these skills?
My goal is to bring an element of local historical context to many of the survival skills and crafts that are being taught during the week at BtR. Participants who may be learning this week how to tan a deer skin or solder together a tin pot or forge a knife, might find it interesting to see how these crafts were all valuable trade items bartered for beaver credits at Spokane House in the early 1800s.
What is your favorite part about the gathering?
Between the Rivers has become my family’s favorite ancestral skills gathering because it is such a beautiful location and very family friendly camping experience, and it is only an hour away from my home! The folks that organize the event and those that volunteer during the week, do an awesome job of making it feel like a welcoming and community building experience.