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UNRAVELING THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE BLACK POWDER RENDEZVOUS
The Western Frontier
Black Powder Rendezvous' are a celebration of the frontier western life, patterned after the fur trade industry circa era 1840 or sooner.
Vendors wear period clothing, reenacting fur trade era events and using mostly authentic supplies whenever possible.
Native Americans vendors get to show their pride and keep traditions of their ancestors by "living history" and the French, Irish, German and other immigrants, pioneers, fur traders and mountain men pay tribute to their ancestors as well. Some do it for just that reason - to pay tribute to their ancestors, some rendezvous for the love of the simple lifestyle, while others do it for an income by attending and trading their goods year round in locations nation wide.
Vouers are Family and Family-oriented
Regular "Vouers" consider this celebration of living history a time with family. Most are family oriented, of course, as Rendezvous time incorporates children in the events just as they did in the 1840s with atl atl and tomahawk competitions, toe ('to short for potato) sack races and egg throws, but it's also about family you claim because of long-lasting friendships over the years and getting to see some of them at rendezvous' are like a big family reunion.
Period Clothing and Native Regalia
At the Springfield Rendezvous, sponsored by Bass Pro, the first weekend of September 2013, the heat was tremendous. As you can see from the period clothing shown here, 100 degree temperature is not much fun.
Period clothing usually consists of long sleeves, long skirts for the ladies, long pants for the men, leather and suede for Native American regalia and often wool. Not bad when it's cool Fall temperatures or early Spring weather, but rain or shine, heat wave or not, Vouers rise to the challenge. Many do this year round and go from camp to camp so remember that when you attend a Rendezvous (they work hard for their money).
"Tent city" came to life again, the rendezvous is about to begin;
The lanterns glow, the moon shines bright, the children are settled, it's Friday night.
The crickets serenade close by, laughter and friendship under the sky;
Morning will come in a few short hours, we'll rise and shine to show our wares.
Hope to sell our handmade crafts, homemade soap and candle wax;
Wrought iron, boats and jewelry too, something special from me to you.
To trade or buy, arrows and bows, black powder rifles for buffaloes;
Furs and goods for everyone, living history is lots of fun.
Sunday, we'll pack up and leave, in rain or snow and sometimes heat;
Some vous families, we see once a year, but family we are, that's why we're here.
Written by Tammie Clifton 9/12/2013
Used with permission.
Vouers as Teachers
Vouers love for people to stop at their shop or demonstrations and ask questions. They love to share their knowledge. The ones I know think the only dumb question is the one that didn't get asked. So feel free to ask questions, bring your children. Your kids will be interested and they won't realize they are learning!
From soap making to boat making, blacksmiths and silversmiths, it's all about offering sentiment from the past. Rawhide and Linda Cohee and their children (Lacy, Cheyenne and Justin) have owned and operated their Rendezvous camp for decades from Alaska to Arkansas and are regulars at Missouri rendezvous'. Lacy Cohee sews period clothing and also works her Irish Pub, selling candies, cream soda and rootbeer drinks. Cheyenne sells clothing, jewelry and other period items including furs, toys and moccasins at her and her father's shop, while the Cohee's son, Justin, is a blacksmith.
If you would like more info on the Cohee's, please write to email@example.com or check out their Facebook page.
Wolf Harvey, artist from Buffalo, Missouri, creates boats, ivory carvings, wood carvings, flute maker, makes Damascus knives, jewelry, relief carvings and many other talents. He is a creative and versatile artist.
Spirit Wolf sells sterling silver and turquoise jewelry made by Native Americans. He also plays gospel music on Native American courting flutes.
Shown below is just a few items Spirit Wolf sells. These are Native American Squash Blossoms. The centerpiece on the necklace is called a najah (pronounced naw ya) which many Natives believe keeps the evil spirits away.
In Arizona, these run from $800 to several thousands of dollars.
If you would like to know more information on this jewelry or have questions on Native traditions, courting flute playing or need a friend for life, Spirit Wolf is just a note away! Just contact Spirit Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org or see him on Facebook. You can contact him for playing gospel on Native American flutes for bookings at churches, nursing homes or other events.
Proud of his Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne heritage, he vous to honor his ancestors from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. He resides in Missouri.
Jane Wheeler, Soap Artist
At the camp of Peighton's Place, you will find soap artist, Jane Wheeler, creating soap. She's from Nixa, Missouri. Nothing like standing over a fire when it's already a 100 degrees out but not too big a challenge for this lady!
She keeps alive a century's old craft and has been making it for fifteen years. Her art is not only beautiful, it smells good too!
You may sample your own creation by Jane by going to
The only bad thing about that is - you can't smell it first or hear her stories of the ingredients and the process of her very special recipes. Cold process goat milk soap is her specialty. I love to walk by her camp when she has all those samples up front..hmm.
Last but not Least - A Special Section for Buffalo Artist Wolf Harvey
As I mentioned previously, Wolf Harvey, owner of Green Leaf Boats, is a multi-talented Native American artist. Here is a short list of some of his talents:
- Knife maker
- Boat builder
- Custom copper, silver and other metals
- Flute player
- Flute maker
- Kayak maker
- Paddle maker
The following photos are dedicated to this artist and shown with him in some of the photos, with his best friend, Ben, assisting him in the cedar made perogue - all made with hand tools of the fur trade period. After completion, the boat was placed in Springfield Lake and it was a huge success!
If you would like more information on artist Wolf Harvey, just check out his facebook page at Green Leaf Boats & More.
My Personal Favorite Photo of the Day
Now you know what a rendezvous is! So when you attend one, remember to ask questions and let these people know you appreciate their crafts and their dedication to keeping tradition alive. Vouers are people of integrity, are patriotic to our beautiful Country (not necessarily the government), but love the foundation we were built on, love a simple life and are NOT actors. The activities you see here is also what they do away from camp. They are real. They are Americans and they are family.
Special thanks to Bass Pro for their sponsorship of this even in Springfield, Missouri!!