The Beaver Moon in November is named for the beavers which at this time of the year become particularly active building their winter dams in preparation for the cold season. A record number of boys and their fathers gathered on November 16, 2019 for their Fall Longhouse at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. They spent quality time together in preparation, and friendly competition, for wilderness survival.
Under cold and misty skies, our families set up camp mostly in the dark, being after daylight savings time ended. Campfires were started to warm hands and feet. Some fires succeeded only due to the tireless efforts of boys like Fast Jaguar in the Oconee Tribe. Dinners were cooked to warm our members from within. After tribes were settled into their sites, we all met near the Mohican Tribe’s RV village to once again hear the tale of “The Palette Man”. The group hiked the lake trail to witness that the monster was still preserved by the lake.
On Saturday morning, after gathering at the teepee for our traditional opening ceremony, we moved quickly into our familiar war games. Many boys honed their skills on the BB gun and archery ranges. The egg toss was as popular as ever. While some ended up with egg on their face, the following champions succeeded in many long-distance tosses:
Egg Toss 9 & Up
- Calvin “Fast Red Bird” Rocheleau
- Jackson “Jack Rabbit” Truog
- Steven “Little Squawking Singer” Lamp
Egg Toss 8 & Under
- Anderson “Running Wolf” Ward
- Carson “White Owl” Ward
- Christopher “Wandering Mongoose” Morrell
For the first time, we invited a couple of master educators from the Leave No Trace organization. Our new friends, Bob and CarolAnn Smith, presented to our boys about outdoor ethics. Some topics repeated by several fathers and sons over the weekend were “Choose the right path”, “Leave what you find”, and “Be kind to other visitors”. Without question, seeds of outdoor ethics and Leave No Trace principles were planted, and will continue to grow in our organization.
The last event before lunch was also a new one for the boys, an emergency shelter building competition. Two tribes teamed up due to low attendance. Two other tribes teamed up to settle a shelter land claim dispute, instilling pride in the fathers of these boys. With 100′ of rope and a 11’x11′ tarp provided, the tribes spent over an hour in the woods building shelters that would provide shelter from the elements and provide comfort needed to survive days and nights in the wild. Shawnee made a good impression on the judges with their use of knots and toggles to hang their tarp between two trees. Ottawa/Chippewa made great use of a fallen tree’s root structure as a shelter wall. Mohave/Kiowa came out on top with their many-amenity shelter, with a full tarp floor, branch cave, and three walls. Special recognition was given to Mohican with the “Home Depot Award” for using palettes and power tools to build an impressive tree house.
After lunch, we had another first-time event with the Orienteering Race. Given a baseplate compass and an orienteering map, tribes stagger-started on the 1-mile course navigating through the park on and off trails to find six “controls” that each gave tribe-specific clues to solve a word puzzle. The medal-winning tribes were:
- Kiowa 14:00
- Oconee 14:18
- Mohave 14:35
Big Red’s Critter Race had boys racing against each other with wildlife such as lizards and insects. Some first-time critter racers came out in the top three, undoubtedly building some lifelong memories. The winners were:
- Calvin “Fast Red Bird” Rocheleau
- Jason “Target Wolf” Klueppel
- Luke “Fire Lion” Parsons
The last competition was a new cooking competition called “Iron Chief”. Similar to the popular TV show, tribes were challenged to cook a unique and inspired dish with provided ingredients of pork belly and three sisters vegetables. Last-minute mystery ingredients, red jalapenos (spicy), anchovies (salty), and pears (sweet), were also provided for tribes to earn extra points. All of the tribes submitted delicious dishes, leaving the judges in awe. In the end, it was Oconee’s pork belly tacos that won the top prize. Kudos to all of the tribe dad’s for taking part, and also wearing sombreros. Medal-winning tribes were:
That night was special for our newest members as we concluded the day with our traditional fall Acorn Ceremony. Gathered around a sizable sacred fire, new father and son members made a commitment to each other and were officially inducted into the Native Sons and Daughters program.
Best campers and best campsites were decided on their participation and excitement. The winners were:
- Apache Best Camper – Zane “Wide-Eyed Buck” Greer
- Apache Best Campsite – Oconee
- Algonquin Best Camper – Hayes “Roaring Lion” Nightingale
- Algonquin Best Campsite – Shawnee
After this Fall Longhouse, the 2019-2020 program year is in full swing. We are seeing a new level of enthusiasm for the program this year, which warms the hearts of the Federation Council members that tirelessly work to build and facilitate Native Sons and Daughters of Jacksonville.
– Chief Iron Wolf