Letters from Students (Hide Tanning)

      “It was very neat to learn how our ancestors made their clothing. Dressing up and putting on a fashion show was awesome. When we were stretching, singing, and dancing, I felt like I was a Native American working on clothing.” –Zach

     Today I received a packet of letters in the mail from the local seventh and eighth grade students that attended an impromptu hide tanning class at our home in December. I have permission from the students to share, and I would like to share one letter in it’s entirety, plus some additional snippets:

Dear Tom and Katie,
      December 8th was an amazing day. You gave me an opportunity I will never forget. I never thought I could have so much fun.
      When I showed up I was ignorant on the subject of brain tanning. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I learned so many fascinating things and did so many things I had never done before.
      The tour of your house was amazing! I did not think the house would be so efficient and beautiful. I was dumbfounded when you said you had built the house yourself. Everything was so well put together and was very energy efficient!

      When we had completed the tour of the house and went outside to begin the braintanning, I was very excited. The best part for me was dehairing the hide. It was cool for me to see that I could actually do that. When I first started fleshing, it was hard, but once I got the hang of it, it became natural to me. Stretching the hide was hard work and took a long time, but it was very exciting when we finally got the hide dried out and ready to be smoked. The smoking of the hide was very interesting to me. It was interesting to see how it actually gets done and becomes so beautiful.

      When we did the fashion show, and I had the furs on, I felt like a real Native American wearing my traditional clothing. Katie did an excellent job in making the clothing and must have put a lot of time into them.
      Finally we came to the elk hide toss! The most frightening and amazing thing I had ever done. At first, I did not think that my class would be able to launch me into the air, and I was very nervous to try. But when I was in the air, I forgot about it and had the time of my life!
      I would also like to thank your interns. They were very helpful and made the experience even more exciting for my class and me.
     Thank you again for an amazing day! I am really hoping I will have the opportunity to do it again in the near future!



“The day went by quickly. I wish we could have stayed longer. We all loved the Indian trampoline. The video you made was perfect. My parents laughed so hard that they couldn’t breathe.” –Orion

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Filed under Education Reform, Wilderness Survival

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