Yesterday I had the privilege of demonstrating traditional fire making methods at the 5th Annual Fort Hamby Pow Wow.
The Pow Wow was sponsored by the Blue Ridge Intertribal Pow Wow Association founded in 2005 by Mabel Benjamin and serves as an educational resource on Native American history and culture in western North Carolina and neighboring communities.
Traditionally local schools are invited to attend on Friday mornings to learn about the Indian culture with song, dance, crafts, demonstrations and displays. I was able to demonstrate the bow and spindle method of fire making which was no small feat as compared to modern methods. Both children and adults gathered around my booth as I explained the elements and process. It seems that each time I make fire I learn more about the materials that I use and ways to encourage the coal to come about. After several tries I had victory.
As the crowd wandered over to the dance area, a young Boy Scout stayed behind to get some hands-on experience, so we worked together to develop the proper stance and method. There’s no substitute for practice to develop a good rhythm and understanding of speed and pressure.
The Pow Wow continues today. Check http://www.blueridgepowwows.org/powwow-schedule.html for details.