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Wild Moon Immersion

For one or more moons, you can be an honored guest at our wilderness camp, which is similar to the scouting camps of our ancestors and today’s remaining natives. To assess potential new gathering grounds, clans send several young Guardians ahead to set up base camps, from which they would explore the areas to learn the plant and animal relations and any nearby clans, as well as gaining a feel for the weather. If the Guardians deem the area suitable for the needs of the entire clan, they send word for the rest to follow. These are dynamic camps, with excursions, craftwork, and hunting-foraging constantly going on. This is the format of the Wild Moon Immersion.

The camp straddles a short rise overlooking the lush ponds and meadows of Mashkodens (Ojibwe for Little Prairie), the Teaching Drum’s 30 acre preserve nestled in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The camp consists of five lodges of various types, an arbor and lean-to, and a hide tanning-smoking area.

You learn primarily by observation and imitation, as you’ll be living in the camp with graduates of the Wilderness Guide Program who live there full or part-time. Tamarack or Lety, our Elders here, or others from the support staff may occasionally show up to spend an evening at camp.

Note: This is NOT a skills workshop. The Wild Moon Immersion is a wholistic aboriginal living experience. While there is the opportunity to learn a number of primitive skills, the lifeway is a focus of its own. Where workshop skills are predetermined, Wild Moon Immersion skills are decided by the needs of the circle, which is made up of the camp’s human and nonhuman communities, the weather, and the season.

There are no classes or workshops; you learn by actually living the skills, side-by-side with the Guardians. Native lifeway–and the native within–comes alive for you like it never could with reading a book or learning a skill outside the context of the lifeway. If someone wants to truly know wolves, she has to live, run, and hunt with them, and the same is true of the Old Way.

Much of what you learn is from clan knowledge: the collective skill, experience, and information of each camp guardian, and from clan memory: the accumulated knowledge and wisdom that is passed down from generation to generation of Guardians. Clan knowledge and clan memory are what provide the depth and richness to a cultural immersion experience and make it a unique way of learning.

A unique feature of a native camp immersion experience is that each moon brings distinctive learning opportunities. With the melting of the snows a sugarbush camp is set up in the maples for syruping, and shortly thereafter the camp moves to the banks of a spawning stream to net fish. In the middle of the green season, it is berry camp,birch-bark harvesting and lodge-building, followed by wild rice camp when the leaves begin to turn. When the snow gets deep enough for the animals to create runs, it’s time for trapping camp. Excitement mounts the closer it comes to leaving for camp, as each camp is a new adventure with a unique set of skills and awarenesses to gain.

Besides the various camps, there is year-around hide and pelt tanning, food gathering, basket and cordage making, along with all the baseline skills such as fire making, primitive cooking, and wilderness hygiene. Because of the camp format and the fact that you are continually with the Guardians during the entire experience, there is a lot of time and opportunity for one-on-one guidance and help with exploring personal interests.

The theme of the Wild Moon Immersion experience is the circle way. Campmates gather in a circle around the hearth, the center of native lifeway, to prepare meals, share the day’s stories and take guidance from the night’s dreams, and plan for the next day.Practices revolving around healing old wounds are essential for modern-day people who are immersing themselves in the Old Way.Emphasis is placed on honest, respectful communication.Members of the circle work together to help each other recognize and change old dysfunctional behavioral patterns.Various awareness and attunement exercises are incorporated into daily life and practiced together to help you learn new ways of being fully in the moment and leaving behind the fantasies and anxieties of dwelling in the past and future.

The diet is based on what our ancestors ate–the food humans are biologically designed to thrive on. Fruits and vegetables (green and starchy), wild rice, nuts, fish, mammals, amphibians, insects, eggs, and fat are all gathered by the camp depending on what the season provides. Nearly all out-of-season foods and additions to the foraged foods are provided by the School. They are either wild-foraged or organic.

We would be honored to have you join us. No prior outdoor experience or skills training are needed. As is traditional with visitors to a native camp, you will be treated as the guest of honor and shown all you need to know. Our only suggestion is that you come expecting the unexpected, as actually immersing yourself in an unfamiliar culture with new values and ways of doing things is bound to challenge some of what you have read, learned, and believed about it.

*Rather than months, natives go by moon cycles, which are 29 day periods running from new moon to new moon.

For more on the Wild Moon, see our general information and the photo gallery.

Tuition

One Moon Immersion: $1500 for individuals age 16 and older. Incidental expenses such as craft supplies and canoe rental could run up to $200.

Please contact us for our children and family discounts

Several Moon Immersions are possible, please contact us for details.

To apply and for additional information please contact us via email (wildmoon@teachingdrum.org) or phone (715 546 2944)

Applications are required one month in advance so we can get to know you better and help you prepare psychologically and physically for the experience. We accept only one to three Wild Mooners per moon, so we suggest to choose a preferred and alternate moon,We will do our best to place you in your preferred date.