The campers in organized camps of today are probably as close as any present-day group to the living of the Indians and pioneers who were the earliest "campers" throughout our country. Campers are learning to live with as well as on the land, and most camp activities are rooted in the way of life of those early settlers. Basic camping skills grow from the everyday activities of making a home and a living from the resources of the land. Much of the color of our themes, special occasions, and background activities come from the history of these first campers. Many good camp crafts are based on fashioning useful and beautiful articles as did the Indians and the pioneers, using natural materials or designs from nature. A number of these crafts have been suggested in the chapters on various techniques in this book; this chapter will present some further suggestions of specific crafts that have come from these important groups in our country's folk lore.

Indian Symbols


Indian Crafts

Many camps are located in areas that are rich in Indian lore; there is no section of this country that cannot be linked with the history of some tribe. Many camps are in territory where Indians still live, either on reservations or in nearby communities. Some camps are privileged to have campers of Indian ancestry. Many camps have adopted an Indian name or tradition, and such camps make wide use of Indian lore in ceremonials, council fires, and camp traditions. As there is so much on this subject, it is impossible to do more than suggest some general possibilities and to point out books to help with projects. In all Indian activities, it is important to honor the true lore, and not to feel that the situation is well carried out by a feather in a headband or a blanket- any blanket-over a camper's shoulders. So much is authentic in the lore of the Indian, and this is so readily available in books that it is deplorable not to keep faith with the crafts, the costuming, and the customs which are truly part of our heritage.

Indian Symbols

There are Indian symbols that may be used for decorations. Sometimes these are combined to make a stylized design; sometimes they tell a story. Colors, too, may be traditional in designs of Indian origin: blue for water and sky; white for sky and snow; green for earth and growing things; yellow for sun and light; black for outlines and for basic parts; red for animal tongues, bird feathers, etc.

A few of the traditional symbols that may be used in telling stories of camping are illustrated in Plate XIX.

For books giving more extensive material on symbols, see Books to Help at the end of this chapter.

Craft Projects Based On Indian Lore

Ceremonial or dance equipment and costumes are illustrated in Figures XIX-1-9.

Craft articles are illustrated in Figures XIX-10-14.

Beaded articles are illustrated in Figures XIX-15 and 16.

Projects for group construction are illustrated in Figure XIX-17a-g.

Decorations for special occasions are illustrated in Figure XIX-17 h and i. See also Chapter XVII (Favors And Decorations For Special Events) on Favors and Decorations.

Ceremonial Or Dance EquipmentBeaded ArticlesProjects For Group ConstructionDecorations For Special Occasions

Pioneer Crafts

The crafts of the pioneers and early settlers are closely related to the crafts of the Indians. Throughout the Americas there is much fascinating lore of the Pilgrims, the covered-wagon families, the settlers in the Midwest, the homesteaders in the Far West, the pioneers in Canada, and the Spanish settlers in Mexico and the Southwest. All of these groups, and many more, contribute color as well as activities to a camping program. From their living stems much of the emphasis on simple outdoor living in our camping today. Appreciation of the courage and the hardihood required of those who pioneered or blazed new trails across the land comes to the camper who helps to establish a camp at an outpost, or to make a log cabin. Campers develop ingenuity and resourcefulness when they use what is at hand to make the camp more livable or more attractive, or provide the materials for their own craft articles. Books that tell of the settling of any section where a camp is located will have pictures of the dwellings, the utensils and tools, and the toys that were developed and used by the early settlers; and from these books will come many camp program suggestions.

Pioneer CraftsEarly Settlers

Pioneers and early settlers, of necessity, made great use of natural materials found near their homesites, and their utensils, tools, and wearing apparel were made with good, honest craftsmanship. The articles were utilitarian, but they had a rugged, homespun beauty. Wood, clay, leather, bark, bamboo, corn cobs and husks, shells, and gourds were commonly used as materials. A major part of this book develops such media, and because of this, much of the book is related to the crafts of pioneers. Basic campcraft skills and the activities that grow out of them were "stock in trade" of the early settlers. Reference should be made to the chapters on Basketry, Ceramics, Leather, Whittling, Correlation with Campcraft, and Correlation with Nature, in expanding the suggestions that are illustrated.

BasketryCeramicsCorrelation With Campcraft

Group Projects. Fig.XIX.-33.

Group Projects

Suggested. Projects from Other Chapters

Projects From Other Chapters