What’s this gathering about?
The gathering is intended to give a foundation in fundamental skills for living a life more grounded in doing for yourself rather than relying on modern technology and industry. Wild and home grown foods and food preservation, hide tanning, and related skills are just a handful of the topics covered.
What sets this gathering apart is that the physical skills are just one part of it. The bigger picture intention is to help you feel more connected to the natural world through being more in touch with your own hands and how they work with that world to help you find materials for food, fiber, shelter, and more. It is also very much about connecting you with a greater community of people interested in similar things so you have support and camaraderie in your learning journey.
It is online classes, why call it a gathering?
We call it a gathering because, while you can view the pre-recorded classes on your own schedule, the interactive live conference calls are a big part of the learning experience. They build a sense of community and group learning that multiply the value of the course content.
In addition to the scheduled weekly live group conferences, you’ll be able to access the online experience any time you like. You can interact and ask questions on a range of topics, within or outside of the course content, and share projects, knowledge, and more.
It is a “gathering” as opposed to a focused “course” because it is designed as an immersive experience covering a broad range of topics, not a comprehensive course on just one topic.
How does it work? Is it one lesson per session?
Every week will have classes on a particular theme that you can watch on your own schedule. They will begin with an introduction to the theme- the history and background, how it is relevant today, and basics terms and concepts. Then there will be 3 lessons, all related to those themes. Some will be longer and more detailed than others. The longer lessons will be broken up into shorter, more easily digestible modules.
Where applicable, you will also be given outlines and related resources for the individual classes. For those who are already familiar with the topics or are hungry for all the information they can get, there will also be “next level” classes available to supplement the 3 core lessons.
I don’t know anything about wilderness living, is this right for me?
Yes! The classes are designed with beginners in mind with plenty of background on the skills and context to help you understand why we chose to include particular subjects. The live calls and online skills community are a wonderful resource for you to ask further questions of both Woniya and fellow students. The additional lessons, calls and online community are also a great place for more experienced students to get support in diving deeper. The community nature of the gathering means beginners benefit from the questions and experience of the advanced students and the advanced students benefit from the more detailed mentorship from Woniya, and from providing mentorship and advice to the beginners.
I live in a city without much access to nature, how will I be able to take advantage of the skills I learn?
Even if you live in an urban environment, there are a lot of ways to apply these skills to your life. That is part of what we mean when we say “it is about how you learn, not just what you learn, and how that learning changes you.” We include nature footage as part of every week’s offering, so you get to experience the wild places even if you can't get to them, and the classes will take into account the fact that some people will be doing this course in city apartments, not the woods!
I have a busy schedule, will I be able to work this course around it?
Yes! The classes themselves are all pre-recorded so you can watch them whenever works for you, and you’ll continue to have access to them for 3 months after the gathering itself. The interactive calls are scheduled ahead of time, so you’ll be able to plan for them, and if you can't make it live, they will be recorded and shared so you can still experience them. There is also the Online Skills Sharing Community, so even if you can't make the calls you can still ask questions and interact with Woniya and the other students.
Does this course appropriate indigenous culture?
There is a big and important difference between using the resources in the wild land around us and appropriation. At Buckskin Revolution, we believe that being in right relationship to the land and connecting with it through tending, harvesting and giving back is important and is part of our birthright as humans. That is different from appropriating specific traditions from specific indigenous people, and we are mindful of not doing that. There is no doubt that it can be a slippery slope, and all will have their own opinions about where to draw the line.
We are also committed to social justice and reparations. We offer scholarships to BIPOC (black and indigenous people of color), and transgender and gender non-binary participants. We also donate to groups working toward social and environmental justice like the Standing Rock movement, NAACP and others. We are working to build a grant program to support native artists pursuing their traditional ways. Your donations towards the scholarship fund support both of these things.
How much time will this take?
Each week there will be 1-2 hours of lessons for you to do on your own time and one 60 minute live zoom call. There will be “next level” lessons available to those who want even more details and information. You will also get more out of the gathering if you put aside an hour or two a week to reflect on and/or practice what you’re learning.
Where does this information come from?
The information in these classes draw from Woniya’s experience of over 20 years studying traditional skills and making them a way of life. She has applied these skills in wilderness living situations, including 2 ½ months living off the land near the arctic circle on Alone Season 6, as well as in homestead and other settings. She has spent decades living off grid in a variety of places and climates, growing, gathering and preserving a lot of her food and making her tools and material goods herself.
She also has a formal education in biology including a Masters degree in Environmental Science, with a focus in Botany and Entomology.
She combines her background in science and her hands on living skills for a well rounded, thorough, and engaging teaching style.
How do you determine the cost of this gathering?
Putting together such an event is a huge effort and a labor of love. We have priced the course well below the suggested value for courses of this kind because it is important to us to make it more accessible for more kinds of people. After the first Buckskin Revolution gathering, the student’s feedback was that it was more information than they had expected, and cost less than they would expect to pay for such an experience. If the cost feels prohibitive to you, please read about our scholarship programs.
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes! We have 2 different scholarship programs. One is designed to help those with financial need be able to attend. The other is designed to increase diversity in a field in which people of color and people outside of the binary gender spectrum have typically been under represented. Buckskin Revolution is funding a minimum of 20 such scholarships, and is collecting donations toward more scholarships to increase how many we can offer.
We hope to not have to turn anyone away because of financial hardship and to have a student body truly representing the diversity of people in our culture.
You can apply for either category of scholarship using the same application. Scroll up for the link!
What happens on the live calls?
The live calls are one of the most potent parts of the gathering for those who participate. They are not only a way to connect with and get to know the other students and Woniya, but they offer an opportunity to dive deeper into the subject matter, get your questions answered and hear the questions of the other students.
Everyone is encouraged to attend whether or not they are up to date on the classes of the week. It isn’t unusual for people to work through the course on their own timeline, and still to participate in and get a lot out of the weekly calls. They are a great way to learn more, be inspired, and be supported in your learning.
They are not required and most students don’t make the calls every week, or even at all, but those who do are those who get the most out of the experience and integrate most thoroughly into their lives.
How much interaction will I have with Woniya?
The live Zoom calls will all be hosted by Woniya, and she will be regularly checking and providing feedback in the online community as well. The online community and calls provide an avenue for questions and feedback where multiple students can benefit from them. Since we typically get a high volume of messages and questions, this is the best way to ensure everyone is heard and the group can also benefit from their question. It also provides a way for students to communicate with and get support from one another. This is one of the intentions of and strengths of this being a learning community, not just a teacher and student learning experience!
Is this course appropriate for kids?
Yes! While the gathering was not specifically designed for kids, the subject material is appropriate for children and we not only encourage their participation, but see it as very important.
Imagine how different your own life might be if you had been given a foundation in these skills as a young person and had had the sense of empowerment, capability and connection that comes with them early on!
We have had children as young as 10 and as old as 16 participate in the gathering, and they have been some of our most enthusiastic participants, to the delight of their parents. The classes are also set up in a way that can dovetail beautifully with homeschool and distance learning curriculums. We already have some parents planning to incorporate the gathering into their children's schooling, so if you choose to do so, you’ll be in good company!
I see this isn’t the first time you’ve offered a gathering. Are they all the same?
This is the second Buckskin Revolution Online Gathering. The first was meant as a one time event to offer skills in the only way we could during the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. It had such a positive effect on so many lives and began such a vibrant skills community, we decided we needed to continue offering them and supporting the students in an ongoing way. This will be the first gathering offered in this new style and format. The improvement will be significant, as we learned a lot about how to make it even better with the first version.
The gatherings are different, though they offer classes related to similar themes, such as ancestral skills and bushcraft, wild foods, hide tanning and leather work, tending to our own health, etc. The classes from the different gatherings work well independently, but also build on each other, so having participated in one will allow you to get more out of future gatherings and take the learning further. Some of the classes from past gatherings will be available in the “next level classes” in the different themes, so students will have some opportunity to sample from classes from past gatherings as well to take the experience deeper.
Deer hides? Dogbane? Spinning wheels? What if I don’t have access to these materials? Or don’t even know what they are? Will I still be able to participate and learn?
Absolutely! There is a wide range of classes offered. Many have no materials involved, many have a few simple ones, and some involve materials that can be a little tricky to find.
Regardless, you don’t need anything at all to participate in the gathering, you will learn a ton just by watching the classes. If you want to take your learning to the next level and follow along with them in a hands-on way, that is great too! Students will receive a materials list after they register, as well as some suggestions on how to go about finding the more obscure materials.
In the past gatherings, some students have participated hands-on in only a few classes, and most have participated just through watching the videos. All have reported learning a tremendous amount regardless.
Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions. Keep in mind that we get a lot of email these days so it might take some time to get your reply!