18 April 2011

Eastern Woodland Indian Conference

Mrs. Fuzzy graciously allowed Mr. Fuzzy a weekend in Pittsburgh with his friend Joseph. Wait, wait, that sounds ALL wrong - we went there for the newly reconstituted Eastern Woodland Indian Conference, sponsored by Fort Pitt Museum. The museum's director, Alan Gutchess, and his father, Jerry, founded these annual conferences maybe 15 years ago but after Jerry died and Alan got sidetracked, these superbly informative conferences ended. This is, hopefully, the new beginning, with the talented Alan Gutchess at the helm once more.

This was a very well run conference, everything on time, enough time to net work, good pacing, trade room, and fine speakers. Some of the topics didn't sound interesting but I listened to all of them and was drawn into virtually all of them. The paper on smallpox blankets was a complete re-write of what was thought to be known - it was revolutionary and so well buttressed. Galban's paper on moon gorgets was extremely informative. I only cite these two because they are easy to describe; all were most worthwhile.

The "trade room" had more good eye candy than most museums and more serious, scholarly, deep, incisive conversations than most university departments. It was a treat in every way. The quill work was exceptional.

It was comforting to see/visit with old friends: Conde, Lalioff, Crews, etc., and to meet Ward Oles and finally put a face to the name. Of course, I could not resist temptations of this degree and purchased a pipe for myself and a perfect copy of a French bucheron knife for Mrs. Fuzzy's kitchen.

If I am still ambulatory, I'll be there again next year. I cannot recommend this conference enough.

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