Sunday, April 1, 2012

More About Ken Hamilton (from Ken Hamilton's promotional pamphlet)

Ken Hamilton is a 17th and 18th century living history Native “Woodland” interpreter. He has provided exciting Native American historical culture programs for over 20 years at schools, museums and historical sites. He has appeared in many documentaries and movies, and modeled for numerous historical artists. With his experience and expertise, he is an advisor for many historical projects. He has helped organize and coordinate public events such as re-enactments and various Native gatherings, to provide an entertaining and educational experience for both the public and participants alike.

As an historical reproduction artist, (blacksmith, stone carver, silversmith, etc…) he studies and reproduces many 17th and 18th century “frontier” related products including: French and Dutch knives, fancy spike and pipe tomahawks, trade silver (armbands, brooches, crosses etc.), wampum, birch bark containers, stone pipes, and many other objects relating to these eras. Fur trade “hardware” reproductions are his specialty. His work can be seen in numerous film documentaries, museum exhibits, private collections, and frontier orientated Native art galleries.

“Eastern woodlands” is a general term, which includes all of the North East and Maritimes, the Southeast, Great Lakes, and Ohio River valley. Through a variety of programs and venues, any area’s unique 17th or 18th century Native cultural history can be brought to life for you. Ken is able to create many different Native Woodland educational programs. By using his knowledge of culture and a vast array of reproduction objects (for visual impact) from the era, history can come alive for any age. You will be enthralled with the depth of your areas’ colonial Hative history.

A typical program includes a large display of European trade goods (including knives, musket, beads, kettles, blankets, beaver felt hat, etc…). and Native traditional objects (including stone and wooden tools, toboggan, snowshoes, clay pot, wampum, animal furs etc…). These two collections compare and contrast the various Native and European technologies and cultures during the colonial era, where each object can be a PhD dissertation in itself! The “Fur Trade” was the bridge between the Native and European cultures, and each audience can become “mini experts” in the colonial fur trade!

Outdoor venues can include a full encampment, with a lodge (i.e. wigwam), fire, and is a fully functioning habitation, this often includes the “trade Good” exhibit. Dance and drumming programs can also be arranged, but usually include other singers and or dancers, which can, of course, be performed indoors, usually in a gym.
Museum consultations and reproductions for historic sites, interpreters, and exhibits are also available. Whatever your need is.

The slide show can show your areas Native colonial history, or related topic. With the use of various contemporary 17th and 18th century images, paintings, drawings, maps and artifacts, will bring the era to life on a big screen. The program could be general or concentrate information that is relevant to any area of interest, (i.e, “Trade Guns”, 17th century Wabanaki History, “The French Connection” etc…) this program can be at least an hour long with time for Q & A.

The lodge program: Several different shaped Lodges (wigwams) used by the semi-nomadic hunting Native people of the Northeast, and were usually portable. The Wisconsin Menominee, for example had 13 different, named shelters! An encampment often includes both a little fire inside the lodge and a larger one outside, complete with a tripod and large brass trade kettle for cooking. Bedrolls, furs, kettle chains and hooks, axes, and other camp equipment are also part of this exhibit. Our family usually STAYS overnight (for the duration of weekend festivals or large Colonial encampments) in the fully functional lodge. Depending on the venue, the trade good exhibit can be part of the full camp…usually under a separate lean-to.

Interpretation of this exhibit is by authentically clothed presenter(s) with precise explanations of the entire exhibit. They are usually a relaxed, ongoing, daily format, and/or other specific (formal) talks given at certain times, daily, as well.
This program requires an outdoor area with the ability to have a campfire (a fire permit provided by the sponsor if applicable). The full exhibit includes a “wigwam” consistent with one of the types of traveling lodges found in the northeast and great lakes region. Large encampments may also include other hired interpreters, especially for an extended. This program gives the sights and smells of the woodland lifestyle.

The trade good exhibit will help you understand the vast commerce that existed between Native Americans and various Europeans. The fur trade in the north and deerskin trade in the south during the 17th and 18th centuries relate directly to the very exploration, settlement and eventual colonization by Europeans here in North America.

The fur trade was fundamental to American history!

This program will compare Native and European cultures (which sometimes co-existed and sometimes clashed), describe the interactions, (social, economic, military), and place European “imperial” and commercial interests in context with Native life. This exhibit will show how the “new” European products have changed the lives of Native Americans forever. Reproductions of these trade goods are included in the EXHIBIT.
Some of the items in this exhibit are the European (freight) Trade bales, knives, awls, spear/dard (French for “dart”) points. Tomahawks, brass kettles, a powder keg, axes, mirrors, pipes, a flintlock musket, fish hooks, clothes, blankets, textiles and beads. A comparative “Native” display shows traditional objects made from shell, stone, clay, bark wood and, of course, animal fur (especially the beaver) from which the Europeans made the fashionable “Beaver felt hat”. European products gradually replaced most of these objects, but many remained with some modification throughout the colonial period. This longevity showed the strength and importance of the original Native culture.

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