Welcome to Swanny's Living History Page
Among my various activities I most enjoy time spent living in the past. I am a historical reenactor specializing in the northwestern fur trade between the years 1763 and 1821. Historical reenactment is an activity in which participants recreate some aspects of a historical event or period. It may be a narrowly-defined time period, such as a specific war or other event, or it may be more broadly defined.
Living history is a side of historical reenactment which aims to accurately depict the life of normal people in a domestic setting, for the given period. In my own living history activities, I portray a Northwest Company wintering partner working a remote fur trading post during the late eighteenth to early 19th centuries. My Nor' West Company trade store is an extension of my historical persona.
Historical Trekking and Historical Rendezvous are the two most common types of living history activities enjoyed by Alaska's living-history enthusiasts. The closely related sport of Cowboy Action Shooting also enjoys a considerable following in the Last Great Frontier. There are very few true historical reenactments in Alaska largely because Alaska did not become a part of the United States until 1867, well after the 1840 time-frame that most historical reenactors portray. In addition to living history events, several muzzle loader shooting clubs in Alaska maintain an active shooting schedule during the warmer seasons of the year, taking a break during mid-winter.
The "Alaskan Lifestyle" largely centers around outdoor activities, especially fishing, hunting and trapping. It should be no surprise that many people enjoy these traditional activities using historically authentic clothing, equipment and supplies. 'Historical trekking' is the living history sport in which participants reenact the day to day lifestyles of historical frontiersmen and their families while afield. The Coalition of Historical Trekkers maintains a very active state chapter in Alaska and CoHT activities include at least one formally organized trek during each season of the year, as well as other living history events and activities for our members. I recently completed a term of office as president of CoHT.
CoHT Alaska chapter representative David "Music Man" Underwood publishes the Alaskan Historical Trekker newsletter for CoHT members quarterly. The newsletter includes a listing of upcoming historical treks, historical rendezvous, and other events of interest to those who reenact the frontier history of our Nation. The Alaska Chapter of CoHT is the most active chapter in CoHT's North West Territory and sponsors several historical treks and other events each year.
Similar to the annual rendezvous of the nineteenth century at which Rocky Mountain trappers exchanged their peltries for equipment and supplies and enjoyed a spree before their next season in the field, modern historical rendezvous are events where living history enthusiasts gather to celebrate the lifestyles of our historical frontier ancestors. Rendezvous usually include muzzleloader shooting matches and other contests where contestants pit their historical skills against those of others. At most rendezvous, vendors such as Nor' West Company and skilled craftspeople offer their historically authentic goods for sale. Participants of historical rendezvous wear the same clothing and use the same equipment and supplies as our historical ancestors while camping in authentic tents or other shelters.
Several historical rendezvous are conducted in Alaska each summer. The two largest of these are the annual Memorial Day Weekend Rendezvous, and the Alaska State Rendezvous. For more information about historical rendezvous in Alaska, check out the Alaska State MuzzleLoader's Association website.
Muzzle Loader Shooting Clubs in Alaska
The Midnight Sun Muzzle Loaders club is located in Fairbanks, and conducts Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon shoots throughout the warmer months, and indoor .22 rimfire rifle and pistol shoots during the "off-season". The club's muzzleloader-only range is located at 8.5 mile Chena Hot Springs Road. Contact president Jim Kruse by Email or telephone (907) 479-1290 or vice-president Bob Hunter, (907) 458-8343.
In Anchorage, the Mount McKinley Mountain Men Muzzle Loading Rifle Club holds a shoot on the second Saturday of each month at the Izaak Walton Range. More information about MMMLRC can be obtained from Harry Kadel at (907) 929-7784.
Three Rivers Brigade is based out of Talkeetna, Alaska and meets the third Sunday of each month at Sunshine Restaurant at the junction of the Parks Highway and Talkeetna Cutoff. For more information about TRB contact Dick Schmitz at (907) 495-1147.
The Alaska State Muzzle Loading Association is a statewide organization that provides, encourages and actively supports a direct and continuing means for responsible use, ownership, collection, trade, sale and display of muzzle loading firearms and all other associated items of historical and current interest. Although ASMLA has no shooting range of it's own it cosponsors the Alaska State Rendezvous and the Alaska State Shoot and NMLRA's Alaska Territorial match. Most of Alaska's muzzle loader and living history clubs are affiliated with the State Association, which plays a lead role in representing our interests in the political arena.