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.
Fall Gathering 2017
This year we're going to
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
November 3-5 2017
Registration information will be available later this summer, so
please check back since registrations fill up quickly.
Not a member? Become one now and get early notification.
What is the NAVC Fall Gathering?
For most of the year, this organization lies mostly undercover, providing an excellent quarterly newsletter. But as fall approaches the call goes out for to sign up for the annual "NAVC Fall Gathering", a conference where like-minded individuals who are passionate about the Great Lakes/Canadian Fur Trade meet each other and deepen our knowledge of this fascinating time period in history through workshops, speakers, demonstrations, and exhibits.
The North American Voyageur Council (NAVC) aims to celebrate fur trade heritage, living history, and historic site preservation. We are Great Lakes and NW Company centered (1779 to 1821), though some research is earlier or later than this range. Talks are of three genres: how-to, make and take (like a blacksmithing, baking, or sewing project) these the instructors are permitted to charge for materials and some for their time; informative, just lecturing on a particularly underserved topic; interpretative, why and how to interpret early America.
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, Gene Tesdahl, 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
38 2014 Badger Camp, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
39 2015 Badger Camp, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
40 2016 Mackenzie Environmental Camp, Poynette WI
*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.
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