DAVIS, W.Va. – In many ways, the constantly evolving western Virginia mountain culture of the 1700s and life skills and military tactics inherited from the past prepared mountaineers for a Civil War that would occur in the 1860s. Pre-war mountain culture and life skills in the 18th and 19th centuries in Appalachia mix to form a Kultural Kinnikinnick weekend at Blackwater Falls State Park Aug. 13 and 14
Kinnikinnick is an American Indian word (Algonkian language family) meaning “mixture.” A special living history program called Kultural Kinnikinnick will take place the evening of Friday, Aug. 13 and the entire day and evening of Saturday, Aug. 14, at Blackwater Falls State Park. The program is open to the public.
“Mountain Culture on the Eve of the War” is an indoor show-and-tell presentation exploring the evolution of western Virginia’s mountain culture from the skin trade era of the early 1700s through the great agriculture boom or the early 1800s to the emerging corporate industrial developments of the mid-1800s. The program begins at 7 p.m. Friday in the Harold S. Walters Nature Center at Blackwater Falls State Park.
“Everyday Life Skills in the 18th and 19th Centuries in Appalachia” begins Saturday at 10 a.m. The activities through the day will trace traditions and cultural traits from the 18th Century blending or “mixing” the various cultures of American Indians, African-Americans, and European-Americans. Living history interpreters from Trails, Inc., make history come alive through drama, demonstrations and hands-on activities. “From 10 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon, anyone wanting to soak in early history and how life was in our West Virginia mountains can learn first hand,” said Blackwater Falls Naturalist Paulita Cousin.
Kultural Kinnikinnick presentations will be staged at the Walters Nature Center and historic interpretative sites will open at 10 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 14. Park guests and area visitors can meet and interact with interpreters as a full day unfolds with a broad range of demonstrations of everyday life skills in the 18th and 19th centuries in Appalachia.
Three special mini-programs are planned – Gardening, Drive Hunts and Medicines of Nature – followed by an evening presentation.
- Gardening includes slash and burn agriculture practices in Appalachia, garden food plants, fertilizing techniques, and teaching the age old practice of corn-beans-squash planting. Gardening is scheduled from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
- Drive Hunt matches attendees with interpreters with demonstration and discussion about community hunting efforts, American Indian origins of this activity and European-American technological influences. Drive Hunt is scheduled from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
- Medicines of Nature is an engaging mini-program as Diana Anestis presents an in-depth look of Appalachian home remedies. The presentation includes species identification, proper collection and preparation, preservation techniques and plant lore. “Health care throughout history is a family priority and in the 18th and 19th centuries folk medicines, bathing, and granny doctoring was a way of life,” said Antensis. Medicines of Nature runs from 3 to 4:30 p.m.
- “Man Killer Ostenaco,” a History Alive! presentation by Doug Wood, is sponsored by the W.Va. Humanities Council at 8 p.m. at Blackwater Falls nature center grounds. “My character Ostenaco explains and explores how Indian alliances in the French and Indian War began changing the American military tactics in a manner that is still part of military training today,” explained Wood. After the performance, there will be a demonstrative discussion of the 18th century cultural inheritance of fighting tactics of the American soldier. The Man Killer Ostenaco presentation will conclude by 10 p.m.
Kultural Kinnickinnick is a historic interpretation day and is presented by Trails, Inc. The program is open to the public and there is no charge. The Friday and Saturday schedule is posted online at the Blackwater Falls website, Events/Deals. Visitors may come to any program or part of the program.
For more information about Blackwater Falls State Park and special programs, call 304-259-5216, visit online www.blackwaterfalls.com or visit all state parks and forests online at www.wvstateparks.com.