Nor' West Company
Living History Activities in Alaska
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Would you like to visit or participate in a muzzleloader shoot or living history event in Alaska? The Alaska State Muzzleloader Association maintains an on-line calendar of events.
Historical Trekking and Historical Rendezvous are the two most common types of living history activities enjoyed by Alaska's living-history enthusiasts. The closely related sport of Cowboy Action Shooting also enjoys a considerable following in the Last Great Frontier. There are very few historical reenactments in Alaska largely because Alaska did not become a part of the United States until 1867, well after the 1840 time-frame that most historical reenactors portray. In addition to living history events, several muzzle loader shooting clubs in Alaska maintain an active shooting schedule during the warmer seasons of the year, taking a break during mid-winter.
The "Alaskan Lifestyle" largely centers around outdoor activities, especially fishing, hunting and trapping. It should be no surprise that many people enjoy these traditional activities using historically authentic clothing, equipment and supplies. 'Historical trekking' is the living history sport in which participants reenact the day to day lifestyles of historical frontiersmen and their families. The Coalition of Historical Trekkers maintains a very active state chapter in Alaska and CoHT activities include at least one formally organized trek during each season of the year, as well as other living history events and activities for our members. Nor' West Company proprietor Thom "Swanny" Swan is the current national president of CoHT.
CoHT Alaska chapter representative David "Music Man" Underwood publishes the Alaskan Historical Trekker newsletter for CoHT members monthly. The newsletter includes a listing of upcoming historical treks, historical rendezvous, and other events of interest to those who reenact the frontier history of our Nation. The Alaska Chapter of CoHT is the most active chapter in CoHT's North West Territory and sponsors several historical treks and other events each year.
Similar to the annual rendezvous of the nineteenth century at which Rocky Mountain trappers exchanged their peltries for equipment and supplies and enjoyed a spree before their next season in the field, modern historical rendezvous are events where living history enthusiasts gather to celebrate the lifestyles of our historical frontier ancestors. Rendezvous usually include muzzleloader shooting matches and other contests where contestants pit their historical skills against those of others. At most rendezvous, vendors such as Nor' West Company and skilled craftspeople offer their historically authentic goods for sale. Participants of historical rendezvous wear the same clothing and use the same equipment and supplies as our historical ancestors while camping in authentic tents or other shelters.
Several historical rendezvous are conducted in Alaska each summer. The two largest of these are the annual Memorial Day Weekend Rendezvous, and the Alaska State Rendezvous.
The 2005 Alaska Memorial Rendezvous is scheduled for the weekend of May 28 - 30 and is being organized by Nor' West Company proprietor Thom "Swanny" Swan of Two Rivers. The event will be held at the Chena River Flood Control Project just a few miles southeast of North Pole.
The 2004 Alaska State Rendezvous was hosted by booshway "Bloody Bob" Hunter July 2 - 11th. A report of this year's event can be seen by clicking HERE. The 2005 Alaska State Rendezvous is scheduled for July July 17 - 23rd at Fort Wick. "Fort Wick" is the home range of the Three Rivers Gun Club of Talkeetna, and is a frequent site of rendezvous' in the Last Great Frontier. It offers plenty of space for camping as well as wide open spaces for shooting matches and other events or activities. A small creek runs across one side of the site offering a cool, shady area for trail walks or to just cool off on a hot summer day. Firewood is available in the woods surrounding the site. Roger "Ready Elk" King is serving as 'booshway' of the 2005 Alaska State Rendezvous with the assistance of 'Segundo' Wild Bill Fox. We will provide additional information as it becomes available. Meanwhile, to contact the event organizers on-line, just click HERE.
The 2004 Fall Rendezvous is scheduled for September 24 - 26th, and will be held in the Glenallen area. A report of the 2004 event can be seen by clicking Here.
For more information about historical rendezvous in Alaska, check out the Alaska State MuzzleLoader's Association website.
Muzzle Loader Shooting Clubs in Alaska
The Midnight Sun Muzzle Loaders club is located in Fairbanks, and conducts Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon shoots throughout the warmer months, and indoor .22 rimfire rifle and pistol shoots during the "off-season". The club's muzzleloader-only range is located at 8.5 mile Chena Hot Springs Road. During the 2002 shooting season we will also hold some shoots at the South Cushman Street rifle range in Fairbanks. Contact president Jim Kruse by Email or telephone (907) 479-1290 or vice-president Bob Hunter, (907) 458-8343.
In Anchorage, the Mount McKinley Mountain Men Muzzle Loading Rifle Club holds a shoot on the second Saturday of each month at the Izaak Walton Range. More information about MMMLRC can be obtained from Harry Kadel at (907) 929-7784.
Three Rivers Brigade is based out of Talkeetna, Alaska and meets the third Sunday of each month at Sunshine Restaurant at the junction of the Parks Highway and Talkeetna Cutoff. For more information about TRB contact Dick Schmitz at (907) 495-1147.
The Alaska State Muzzle Loading Association is a statewide organization that provides, encourages and actively supports a direct and continuing means for responsible use, ownership, collection, trade, sale and display of muzzle loading firearms and all other associated items of historical and current interest. Although ASMLA has no shooting range of it's own it cosponsors the Alaska State Rendezvous and the Alaska State Shoot and NMLRA's Alaska Territorial match. Most of Alaska's muzzle loader and living history clubs are affiliated with the State Association, which plays a lead role in representing our interests in the political arena.
Prior to European contact, historical Native American peoples gathered at various times of the year to hunt, plant, gather and to celebrate. They came together to renew family, clan and tribal ties as well as to forge social and political alliances, celebrate victories and to practice religious and spiritual ceremony. Initially tribal in nature, these gatherings sometimes became intertribal and generally involved music and dance as an expressing of cultural pride and practice. Modern intertribal powwows are cultural, ritual, social, educational and sometimes spiritual gatherings of Indian and Indian-influenced people that know no tribal boundaries.
Intertribal powwows are relatively new to Alaska, and the first intertribal powwow in the Interior region was conducted at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds in Fairbanks in 2001. The Midnight Sun Intertribal Powwow was wildly successful and was the start of a contemporary Native American tradition that we hope will continue well into the future. Please visit the Midnight Sun Powwow web for more information, and pictures from past powwows.
If you'd like to learn more about living history activities in Alaska or know of a living history event not listed here please contact Swanny, Nor'West Company's proprietor.