NAVC Fall Gathering

Every year the NAVC holds a fall conference.  Check out our
Photo Gallery for program highlight from previous years. Click the Gathering year for the latest photos.

The Gathering14 link is now active! Click below for more information on:

  Fall Gathering 2014
This year we're going to
Badger Camp
in
Prairie du Chien, WI
October 31 - November 2 2014

Since registrations fill up quickly, you will want to sign up early.

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What is the NAVC Fall Gathering?

The North American Voyageur Council (NAVC) is usually understood to be simply a network of like-minded individuals who are passionate about the Great Lakes/Canadian Fur Trade. But this organization also has quite a long and rich history of bringing such folk together to meet each other and to deepen our knowledge of this fascinating time period in history through workshops, speakers, demonstrations, and exhibits..

For most of the year, this organization lies mostly undercover, providing an excellent quarterly newsletter that appears in oumembers' mail boxes. But then, as fall approaches, with a flurry the call goes out for the annual "NAVC Fall Gathering".

The Annual Fall Gathering of this group is an intense 3-4 day weekend, held near the end of each year when historical events are winding down. Thus the timing for this event is perfectly situated to prime one with skills to be perfected over a winter. These gatherings have a long history and through the ups and downs of this organization the Gathering has been our proudest moment.

The "Annual Gathering" had its birth in the late 1970's, a time when reenacting was spurred by the Bicentennial and growth of all kinds of reenacting flourished. Since that time many avenues of reenacting have developed their own "Gatherings" or "Schools" of classes and talks suited to educate those interested in their time period. Examples of these include the Woodland Native Conference, the Sam Brady Conferences, The School of the Soldier, The School of the Longhunter, The School of the Cannoneer, and The Kentucky Woodsmen Weekend. The 30 years of NAVC Gatherings rank this event among the first of its kind, if not the oldest.

The Gathering, in its inception, was organized by and assembled various "Brigades" or groups.

"More than 60 persons from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois met
at the Ecology Center in Evanston, Illinois, December 2 & 3, 1977,
for a symposium about the Voyageur, a nearly forgotten person in
the history of mid-America.

"It was the first such gathering of people committed to experiencing
again the adventure and excitement of the canoemen of the
past. The original voyageurs were ~mainly French Canadians who
paddled and portaged the large freighter canoes of the fur trade
industry of the 17th through the 19th centuries. The voyageurs of
today are more diverse--men and women, young and old, from all walks
.of life. They were drawn together to share and coordinate their'
voyageur activities, and thereby provide a richer and more authentic
voyageur program for all today."


(from "First Meeting of Area Voyageurs", Newsletter for Voyageurs (precursor to The Voyageur News, NAVC newsletter), vol. 1 no. 1, p. 1)

Now, groups and individuals from all over North America are a part of this organization. Over the years the Gatherings have been held in numerous states and provinces, MN, WI, IN, IL, MI, and Ontario. These events have gathered from 40 to over 130 participants. Recently the board members of this venerable organization have organized the last few Gatherings and the NAVC itself is flourishing and indeed is witnessing a resurgence.

-Karl Koster and Wayne Krefting

A Timeline of the NAVC Gatherings*:

1    1977   Ecology Center, Evanston, IL
2    1978   Camp Big Timber, Elgin, Illinois
3    1979   Delphi, Indiana, Camp Tecumseh
4    1980   Peoria, IL Camp Wauconda
5    1981   Niles, Michigan (Camp Makisabee)
6    1982   Camp Reinburg, Illinois
7    1983   Camp Reinburg, Illinois
8    1984   Will County Forest Frankfort, Illinois (Camp Manitoqua)
9    1985   Fort Snelling Historic Site, St. Paul, Minnesota
10  1986   Fort William H.P. Thunder Bay, Ontario
(Over 100 participants; a 14 foot bark canoe was constructed during the event)
11  1987   Camp Rosenthal, Dowagiac, Michigan
12  1988   Wooster Outdoor Certer, Mansfield, Ohio
13  1989   Old Fort William, Thunder Bay, Ontario
14  1990   Camp Timber-Lee, East Troy, WI
15  1991   St. Paul, Minnesota
(Famed Blizzard Gathering 54 of 120 registered actually made it! 27" of snow in 24 hours w/ 30 mph winds!!!)
16  1992   Beaver Creek Reserve, Eau Claire, WI
17  1993   Fort William H.P. Thunder Bay, Ontario
18  1994   Battleground Tippecanoe, HCA, Indiana
19  1995   Hartley Outdoor Education Center, St. Charles, Michigan
20  1996   Badger Camp, Prairie du Chien, WI
21  1997   Fort William Historic Park, Thunder Bay, Ontario
22  1998   Beaver Creek Reserve, Eau Claire, WI
23  1999   Wesley Woods Conference Center, Williams Bay, Wisconsin
24  2000   Butternut Springs GS Camp, Valparaiso, IN
25  2001   Fort William Historic Park, Thunder Bay, Ontario
26  2002   Pine City NWCo Fur Post, Pine City, Minnesota
27  2003   Beaver Creek Reserve, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
28  2004   Badger Camp, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
29  2005   White Oak Fur Post, Deer River, Minnesota
30  2006   Badger Camp, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
31  2007   Camp Voyageur, Mound, Minnesota
32  2008   Fort William Historic Park, Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada
33  2009   MacKenzie Environmental Center, Poynette, WI
34 2010    Forts Folle Avoine, Danbury, WI
35 2011    Fort Gibraltar, Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
36 2012    Badger Camp, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
37 2013    Voyageur Environmental Camp, Mound, MN

*A special Thank you to Terry Haas for his assistance with the timeline and for keeping memories of Bill O'Brien kindled in the NAVC.
Updated 08-22-14
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