An Earthskills Rendezvous History

Earthskills Mission

Supporting sustainable lifestyles through educational gatherings, practicing experiential archaeology, primitive technology, and bioecology.

Core Values

Respect for all people, Honesty in all relationships, Selflessness in community, and Happiness and Laughter

History

Earthskills Rendezvous was founded in 1985 by Robert Slack, Jr., Stephen "Snow Bear" Taylor and Darry Wood. They began the gathering to preserve and promote indigenous primitive skills like making white oak baskets, foraging for wild food, starting fire by friction and tanning deer skins with brains and smoke. The three founders eventually invited their Cherokee friends to come share their living traditions of baskets and pottery, weapons and music. From these elders they learned many wonderful things, not the least of which is about being both humble and good-humored.

Many instructors come to 'Rendezvous' to teach us ways an incredible array of skills.  We make fire, which is the basic tool we use to light and heat our camp, cook our deer, harden our clay pots, straighten our blowguns and a long list of essential things. We make incredibly functional and beautiful tools, from stone & bone, wood and steel; shelters and musical instruments; cordage and felt; traps and snares; atlatls and spears; bows and arrows. We practice stalking and tracking skills, primitive fishing, native fiber arts, belly dancing and so much more. For over 30 years, we have convened this modern village, with people coming from all across the United States and other countries as well.  During each day, one may wander the camp and find over a dozen instructional sessions going at once; then at night, there are glorious campfires, with story telling, singing and dancing. 

Curriculum

Our focus is to provide top quality primitive skills classes instructed by experienced professional primitive technologists. It could be said that primitive skills are not primitive at all and that to master even one skill is a lifetime goal for most people. Our ancestors practiced these skills in order to survive and did so from a very early age. However, if there are indeed any skills that could be considered truly "primitive" they would be the ability to make fire, twist fiber and shape flint. It is largely the essence of these skills which are combined to produce all others and are essential ingredients to life from the paleolithic. This is why time is taken at the very beginning of each event to address these core skills, and they are offered as the foundation for many classes throughout the week. Each evening there is a chance to experience ancestral life ways by attending the council fire where the ancient art of storytelling is revived or dancing to the rhythm of drum, didgeridoo, and other primal instruments played by top quality musicians. This list is representative of some of the skills you can expect to study at Earthskills Rendezvous.

  • Fire making
  • Open Hearth Cooking
  • Pottery
  • Blacksmithing
  • Flintknapping
  • Bone and Antler Tools
  • Stone Tools
  • Weaving and Textiles
  • Cordage and Twining
  • Netting
  • Basketry
  • Knots
  • Knife Sharpening
  • Nature Awareness
  • Edible and Medicinal Plant Harvesting
  • Slings
  • Bolas
  • Rabbit-sticks
  • Bows and Arrows
  • Atl-atls and Darts
  • Treen
  • Traps and Snares
  • Spears
  • Primitive Cookery
  • Soap making
  • Natural Dyes
  • Useful Wild Plants
  • Pitch Sticks
  • Primitive Shelters/Structures
  • Blowguns
  • Indigenous Musical Instruments
  • Hide Tanning
  • Clothing and Adornments
  • Moccasin making
  • Tribal Life
  • Tribal Games and Sports
  • Tracking and Stalking
  • Sustainability

Earthskills Rendezvous, Inc. is now a 501c3 non-profit organization.  All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

For more information, please contact us.