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Mid America Buckskinners Info Page
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Missouri Iowa Nebraska Kansas
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No, it's not skinning bucks............ Developed and maintained by JP Finn






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JP A little background on me (very little):
I bought my first BP gun in the fall of '69. (.62 cal smoothbore caplock -"made in Spain" brand) Nevada jackrabbits learned to hide that winter.
Played in the hills of North Idaho / Montana off and on for a couple decades, decided I wanted a little more summer than was offered, and moved down to Florida. Fell into the North Florida/South Georgia reenacting circuit as a ner-do-well/deer hide trader in the 1790 time frame. (I was the guy out on the edge of the camp that nobody knew) Soon as I got comfortable at that, I packed up and moved to Missouri. Now, I'm trying to move up to the 1810-1830 era. Old habit are hard to break.

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Leggings
Ever notice how reluctant you get with the sissors when you are about to cut up a bought deerhide? I'm gunna make a pair of leggings. Soon as I develop the courage to cut up these hides. Made a paper pattern. Made another paper pattern. Laid the pattern on the hide. Moved them around some. Wrapped the hide around a leg. Wrapped the pattern around the leg. Adjusted the pattern. Laid the pattern on the hide. Trimmed some of the dangles off the hide. Tried the patten back on. Decided I would want to wear the leggings over my wool half leggings this winter. Put on the half leggings. Wrapped the hide around the half legging covered leg. Twisted the hide around until it seemed to work. Tried the pattern on over the half leggings. Pattern needs adjusting. Pattern tore. Got another sheet of newspaper; made another pattern. Tried on the pattern. Put the pattern on the hide. Hide shrunk - pattern to big now. Worked when I wrapped the hide around legging covered leg!?! Wrapped hide around leg, marked hide with chalk. put pattern on hide to align chalkmarks. Pattern doesen't fit marks. Put whole mess up. Used dangles to repair old leggings.

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Questions
I've been reading the alt-living-soc bulletin board. There is a thread listing the humorous things that have been said or asked during Visitor Days or Living History events. I'm sure the most common question of all time (for me, anyway) is "Did you really sleep there?" The one that made me stop and really pay attention was, "Is that a real fire?" This by a couple with a herd of kids that wanted to touch everything. Then there was the time that I was fixing supper when a gentleman stepped up with a video camera, and asked if he could photograph me in my camp. I was impressed that he asked, until , as he set the camera on his shoulder, he said in a very loud voice, "Do something historical!" I thought frantically as I heard about four camps snikering, waiting to see what I would do. Quick, do something historical, something so well documented that no one would ever find fault in the action, something that anyone that ever watched this film clip would instantly know that I was a true reenactor of the finest kind! Smoothly I turned away, bent down and stirred the pot of soup.
But, by far, the story on the bulletin board that I enjoyed the most was when the Lady, after spending several days at a Reenactment was asked "Are you alive?"

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Goofing Off!
I've been practicing reenacting of the fine art of goofing off. You have to practice or you give a stilted, boring proformance. My loving Wife claims that I practice more than I need to get it down correctly. She doen't understand that goofing off is a fine art. I must practice so that I will be prepared for any possible distractions. I see very few at the 'Roo's that have the fine art down as well as I do. Oh, there is the occasional feeble attempt. They are easily side tracked into some productive pursuit, however. If you happen to see me at one of the upcoming events, you can reconize me even though I have no pictures posted on this page. I will be the short fat bearded one wearing the upper lower class, late colonial era clothes, with a leaning toward bright wool half leggings, doing nothing worthwhile. See you there!

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On Breechclouts
We all know that many of the things that were common were not written about. That is why there is debate on the use of toilet paper on the frontier. Lately, I have heard a lot of discussion about priming horns. Seems that there are not many paintings showing two horns hanging from the riflemen. Inside the pouches that have been discovered there has been a lack of priming horns also. The argument mentions that the military used the main charge powder to prime with, and the civilians could have done the same.
I think more important issues need to be researched. Such as, how did men keep their breechcloth from falling down? As a turnip shaped "experimental archeologist", I can see the need for much more research on this subject.
I have stared at many pictures of Indians and can see no hint of suspenders. There are some examples of overweight or larger than the Hollywood slim trim examples that are wearing a 'clout. They seem to be having no trouble in the pictures. Then again, you don't know if they had hitched 'em up just before the picture was taken. This may be the mystery that will never be solved.
If you have a clue, let me know! Just remember, being overweight was a sign of easy living and wealth that I don't care to give up. I must keep up appearances, you know.
For those shaped like me that have thought of wearing leggings and a breechcloth, I give you my cardinal rules.

1. Always wear a long shirt.
2. Wrap the thong two or three times around you before tying. It helps
3. If you are going to do anything that causes movement, like walking, wear trousers.
4. Tie nothing to the thong that you absolutely don't have to.
5. And last, always wear a long shirt.

If you ever saw me shirtless, wearing a breechcloth, you would agree; not everyone should be allowed to wear such a thing in public. Not in mixed company or around small children, at least. It does seem to cheer up my Wife when I wear a 'clout. She laughs a lot, anyway.

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During my travels, I have been watching people doing common camp chores in neighboring camps. Being basically lazy, I'd rather learn from others. The mistakes are usually easy to spot. Great commotion and bustling about seem to be a required part of the exercise. The correct and better ways are done with no muss or fuss. That is a little harder to notice during the action.

Always helpful, I have a few observations.

I saw people scrambling to collect twigs and reeds to put on burning tinder at every Event I attended this fall. After a heavy dew or rain during the night, the search takes on a frenzy of dashing about that is a sight to behold. That gyration seems to add a little more pressure than is appreciated before a cup of morning coffee. At least, that's how it seemed. The "No Muss, No Fuss" crowd had a stash of twigs and shavings in their shelter that was brought out with the fire starting kit. They usually brought out double what they used, returning the extra to the shelter for the next time it was needed.

With a little less commotion, I watched as camp box lids were cleared to remove an item from the box. As soon as the lid was closed all the relocated items were neatly rearranged on the lid. There is at least one Lady out there that has a memory like mine. Less than one minute after putting everything back on the lid, a forgotten item had to be fetched from inside the box.
Whether done on purpose or not, I watched dishes being washed and stacked in a drying rack on the box lid. When all the dishes were washed, everything was removed so the soap could be returned to the box. Five minutes later the lid was cleared so a drying towel could be removed and several items dried, placing them on the corner of the box. After that chore was completed everything was once again removed so a short piece of cord could be retrieved and strung between awning poles to hang out the washrag and drying towel. I couldn't watch anymore, so I wandered away as the dishes were being set back on the box.

Reminds me of a saying of a friend that has since made the final long trip to the Shining Mountains. "Never hire a man that smokes a pipe and wears gloves", he said. "They are forever messing with the pipe or taking their gloves off so they can. They always stay too busy to do any work!" He would then take off his gloves and mess with his pipe.

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Akta Lakota Museum at Chamberlain, SD
On the way back to the junction of the Kaw ands Missouri Rivers I stopped in the little town of Chamberlain, South Dakota. There, in the heart of Sioux country, next to the Missouri river (Lake Francis Case) is the St. Joseph's Indian School, home of the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center.
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Akta Lakota Museum
St. Joseph's Indian School
Chamberlain, SD 57326
1-800-798-3452
Hours: 8-6 Mon-Sat & 1-5 Sunday in the summer
8-4:30 Mon - Fri in the winter
Free Admission (donations acceptided)
Plan on at least a day to visit!
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The School was founded in 1927, and the Museum opened its doors in 1991. Each has a fasinating history.
The Museum and Cultural Center was developed to teach the kids about their heritage. It contains items donated since the School was founded in 1927, and also houses a rotating Native American Artist exhibit of artifacts and artwork.
The exhibits come in two main types; static displays (things in cases), and set pieces (dressed maniquins doing something). There is the buffalo hide pictorial history of the Fetterman Massacure (original), a hide hunting/warpath tipi, a diorama of the aftermath of a buffalo hunt, several family groups doing everyday tasks and display cases filled with original artifacts. There are audio/visual presentations that explain everything from the symbolism of the designs on clothing to how food was prepared.
The buffalo and the tipi are major points at the Museum. I discovered that I have several new projects to complete, while checking out the tipi furnishings. It is amazing what can be made from a little hide, a few bones and a stick or two.
So what can you expect to see?
Original Weaponry, Tools, Ceremonial Dress, Beadwork & Quillwork, Doll Exhibit (check out the fully beaded mocs - 1/2" long, with beads no bigger than a grain of sand!), and the Diorama (with props used in "Dances With Wolves"). Then check out the displays on the Buffalo, the Tipi, and the Audio/Visual section. Wander over to see the displays by contemporary Souix artists. There you will find reproductions of most of the things in the museum, Lakota paintings, carvings and sculptures. Many are for sale in the Collecters Gallery. Books, music, silverwork, prints of the paintings, star quilts (Owinja), pottery, clothing, and much more is available at the gift shop.
The School is also worth the trip. Be sure to stop in the Visitors Center, and visit the Our Lady of the Souix Chapel.

As a last plug, let me mention the Tipi Press. The School has a small press that makes prints, calendars, note cards, stationary and Christmas cards, illustrated with traditional and contempory artwork by Souix artists. They can be reached at the above address, phone 1-800-229-5684. Prices are very reasonable and the quality very good.

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