Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Last Weekend at the Fort

Last weekend was the last living history day for the season at Ft. Atkinson. It was a good ending to my first season. During the whole season I have made five men's shirts and one waistcoat suitable for reenacting. I intended to start on some trousers, but it hasn't happened yet. I am so grateful the Fort has uniforms available for loan during these weekends, because it takes time to create an entire period correct outfit!

At one point during the day I asked the sutler about the price of the period correct buttons sold at the Fort, since someone had told me they were fifty cents per button. I thought that was a high price, but there's a price for authenticity. But the sutler told me, no, the buttons are $2 or $3 a piece. I'm afraid I looked rather shocked. I think I'll just be that much more in-authentic and buy metal buttons at Hancock's. At least there they ARE fifty cents a piece.

Later on I met a man visiting the Fort who I had talked to about getting started in reenacting back in the spring. He does Lewis and Clark reenacting(over my dead body will I ever do that, and the same for the Civil War), and he told me about his most recent trip to Washington for an annual sacred Chinook ceremony. It involved a big Chinook salmon, and I can't recall all the details, but after the tribe's revered grandma kicked the fish dead, they cut it up and everyone received a cup of water and a cup of smoked salmon. My storyteller likened it to communion. I thought, hmm, a remnant of Christian tradition brought over from the continent? Interesting. Then it got a bit funny: The tribe took the fish skeleton out to sea in a highly authentic canoe and slipped the bones back into the water, sending the fish skeleton and presumably his spirit to tell his friends that it's okay to travel up the river now, because I already got eaten and the Indians will treat you well. It was a serious story as he was telling it, but I laughed about it later. Otherwise it was too depressing to think of pagan peoples and their ludicrous rites.

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