The public is invited to see how the Woodland Indians in Lake County lived before the white man settled here. See the wigwam homes, clothing with decorations, wild and cultivated foods – all nestled in the hardwood and pine trees. Hear the stories, smell the cooking fire, and feel the bark of the willow saplings in the wigwam frame as volunteer re-enactors live the lifestyle of those who were here in 1750.
The Callumic Band of Great Lakes Woodland Alliance sets up camp in the Buckley Homestead back 80 acres, just southeast of the pioneer farm. To visit the Woodland Indian Camp, follow the trail from the parking lot on Hendricks Road past the animals at the 1910’s farm, to the Pioneer Farm. Then follow the path southeast of the loghouse.
Belshaw Road, which runs through the park, was an old Indian trail; and was near the northern edge of the Great Kankakee Marsh before it was drained in the early 1900’s. The Indian Camp is on the northern edge of that Marsh.
Native Americans Celebrate the Seasons – Maple Sugaring
Buckley Homestead March 2 & 3, 2013 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free
“From Delaware westward to Missouri the warmer days and chilly nights of late winter brought on a flow of sap. Sugar maple and birch trees – and sometimes soft maple, box elder, and hickory – were tapped by cutting a slanted or V-shaped gash in the bark. A pithy twig, such as elderberry, was inserted at the lowest point of the cut, and a bark container below it caught the sweet drippings. The ice from an overnight freeze could be skimmed off for a more concentrated sap, or the whole could be boiled to a syrup, or, with more cooking time, to the crystallized maple sugar. Eight pounds of boiled sap yielded one pound of sugar for flavoring or a candy treat.” (from The Woodland Indian)
Watch the Indians at Buckley Homestead boil that sap down to maple sugar on the first weekend in March. Dress warmly for this outdoor program.
The following two weekends will continue the Maple Syrup experience at Deep River County Park with their annual Maple Syrup Time.
Native Americans Celebrate the Seasons – Planting Garden
Buckley Homestead May 25 & 26, 2013 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free weekends through August
“The planting season began when the white oak leaves were as large as a mouse’s ears. (The garden plots and their crops were owned by the individual households.) Women began by mounding the soil between stumps every 3 feet or so. With a sharpened stick, four holes for the four compass directions were punched into the soil for the corn seed. Later, pole beans would be added to the mounds, to make use of the corn stalk as a support for the climbing bean vines. Squash, pumpkins, sunflowers, and gourds for natural containers were set apart from the mounds so that they would not be shaded by the cornstalks. Tobacco was in its own separate plot and was the only crop managed by the men. They would later add willow to make their Kinnikinnick tobacco or mix the crushed leaves and roots of the dwarf sumac for tobacco for ceremonial use. Probably the latter would be used in the Green Corn Dance for the first fruit harvest as a “thank you” to the benevolent spirits.” (from The Woodland Indian)
Part of the lifestyle is showing garden varieties and techniques. Visit the Indians and learn about Miami corn and hoes made from deer shoulder blades. Learn about the uses of gourds as containers. Say your own personal “thank you” to the benevolent spirits as you enter and leave the Camp.
Native Americans Celebrate the Seasons – Harvest and Cooking
Buckley Homestead 10 am – 4 pm
August is Free
September regular admission charged
October Fall Festival admission charged
“As summer blended into fall, the women and children continued their gathering of berries, roots, nuts, and such seasonal greens as dandelion, watercress, and mustard to boil with the meat. The first corn harvest and the Green Corn ceremonials had passed. .... There was still the sweet corn stalk pith for the youngsters to suck or make into toys like mini-ducks and dolls.”
“Their mothers were busy grinding the dried corn for corn mush, flavored with berries, nuts, or maple sugar. Bread dough was made from corn flour and water and was then wrapped in husks and baked in embers. Stew simmered in a cone-shaped or round-bottomed pot set into the hearth and surrounded by fire. Meat, fish, beans, squash, nuts, greens – whatever was on hand – went into the pot to give a variety of different flavors. Bones and other inedibles just settled to the bottom of the pot. While mealtimes were determined by hunger and convenience, the Algonquians generally collected the family for morning and evening dining. Their eating utensils would include shells, gourds, bark, and carved wooden containers that served as spoons, ladles, dishes, and bowls.” (from The Woodland Indian)
Smell the cooking fire and watch as berries, greens and corn become meals for the Native American reenactors. See what cooking containers and eating utensils are used. Then listen to their stories that are intertwined with nature and the foods they gather to eat.
The Indian Camp, southeast of the pioneer farm, offers a wonderful opportunity for students to connect classroom learning with real life experiences. Teachers, consider giving your students questions to answer or a form for interpreters to sign, so students can get “extra credit” for attending and participating in the program.
Camp will be open May 2 & 3 • March 25 & 26 • Oct 12 & 13, 2013. Watch for other dates to be added
Buckley admission or special event fees are charged on some of these weekends
To read letters from early travelers click here Woodland Indian Camp at Buckley - letters from history
"I went to the village, where I bought a little Indian corn and a piece of venison; and then Godefroi and I rode on till it was dark, in hopes of reaching Detroit the next day; and finding water, made a fire near it, and passed the night there, having left our fellow-travelers to sleep with the (Potawatamis) . . ." Journal of Captain Thomas Morris, 1764
Captain Morris would have done well had he visited the Woodland Camp at the Buckley Homestead; corn and venison are plentiful, and a warm fire always greets travelers at the 18th century Native village. Visitors will always find many aspects of daily life being interpreted on those weekends that the village is occupied, but additional themes will be emphasized on certain dates: Visit www.GreatLakesWoodlandAlliance.tk and www.Theatiki.tk
For reservations and more information about the Lake County Parks Call 219-769-PARK
Mon-Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm Central Time (Chicago Time)
Lake County Parks and Recreation Department Corporate Office
8411 East Lincoln Highway, Crown Point, Indiana 46307
Just west of Deep River WaterparK 4.5 miles east of I-65 on Route 30