Rewilding vs. Primitive Skills and Survivalism

Scout just posted a great blog in response to Rabbitstick Rendezvous and the lock down to the Primitive Living Experiences board at PaleoPlanet that tackles the difference between rewilding and primitive skills. I think the topic deserves some attention on the forum itself – and we probably should have addressed it quite some time ago.

The term “primitive skills” refers to stone age technology. Usually, though, those who use the phrase do so in terms of physical technology with no focus on or interest in invisible technologies.

The term “rewilding” refers to the entirety of stone age technology including the physical as well as invisible aspects of what made (and continue to make) the indigenous cultures of the world sustainable.

Scout did a great job in his blog of summarizing how you can enjoy physical primitive skills (like making stone tools or leather goods or hunting without firearms) without ever taking notice of how the same cultures that developed these physical technologies used them in the context of a host of invisible technologies (like interacting with the lives that you forage and hunt).

The lock down at PaleoPlanet came about because the admins realized that by nature the board they had created for discussing “Primitive Living Experiences” violated their only two rules: no politics and no religion. Again, Scout does a great job of discussing how rewilding, by its own nature, demands a discussion of “cultural systems (aka politics) and the sense of place (aka religion)”.

So I just wanted to take all of these issues and use them as a platform for discussing why this forum exists:

Scout started this site, and I joined in to support it, because of rewilding – not just primitive skills and not survivalism. We have had lots of conversations about those other issues. Rewilding definitely involves researching and learning about primitive skills – but not just the physical ones.

The admin at PaleoPlanet discussed the fact that they have their two-rule system because he sees their boards as a place where various (and possibly conflicting) tribes come together and lay down their weapons in order to peacefully congregate and discuss the things they have in common., on the other hand should work more like various bands of the same tribe, already focused on the same mentality, coming together for a seasonal gathering to discuss physical skills as well as the political and religious issues that support a lifestyle depending on primitive skills.

In short, this site does not necessarily promote survivalism or just physical stone age skills. We can’t have a rule against politics and religion because we need to discuss those things in order to syncretize a real and living culture for ourselves for the future. We may sound preachy on occasion, and we may piss people off with our views, but we accept that possibility and even embrace the fact that we may need to have some heated discussions in order to forge a new path for ourselves.

Thanks for bringing this here Rix.

I’d also like to say that Rewilding does not recognize the term “stone age” as anything but civilized mythology to make indigenous people look like a “thing of the past.” That the destiny of humans progresses through time in terms of technological advancement. There is no such thing as the “stone age” outside of civilization. For example, the native americans were still using stone tools when whitey came here only 500 years ago and had been using those tools for 3 million years and would probably still be using them today if it weren’t for civilization, and will probably be using them again very soon. So when we say “stone age” peoples, which I never really do, I mean “indigenous people who used stone tools.”

Hear hear! Long live the ever-enduring stone age of today.

I’d like to say that I think the moderator at paleoplanet using the metaphor of putting our “weapons at the forests edge” is bullshit.

We are on a sinking ship. People can stand around and talk about the lifeboats all they want, but they need to know how to navigate the oceans in one. Talking about the lifeboat, without talking about the navigation is bullshit. Calling the navigation skills a “weapon” to be left at the edge of the field is simply the denial that we are on a sinking ship.

I know this is a huge tangent, but I’ve often thought that “stone age” didn’t even accurately describe the alledged “time period”. “Cordage age”, while a bit more difficult to say, seems far more appropriate to me. I mean, throwing and cordage strike me as the two most quintessential physical technologies of human beings.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program… :smiley:

[quote=“Urban Scout, post:4, topic:414”]I’d like to say that I think the moderator at paleoplanet using the metaphor of putting our “weapons at the forests edge” is bullshit.

We are on a sinking ship. People can stand around and talk about the lifeboats all they want, but they need to know how to navigate the oceans in one. Talking about the lifeboat, without talking about the navigation is bullshit. Calling the navigation skills a “weapon” to be left at the edge of the field is simply the denial that we are on a sinking ship.[/quote]

Is Paleoaleo even trying to achieve anything other than a gathering place, though? I don’t sense any objective from him that indicates anything more than an interest in archaeological techniques. It seems like an entirely civilized prospect over there. He places the utmost regard on getting people together to talk about making things because he knows that everyone has a different agenda, and he doesn’t like the pushiness that comes with agendas.

I don’t mean to defend his position, but I don’t think I can hold him any more accountable for denying the sinking of the ship than I can any other Joe Civilized.

It kind of blows my mind that the flintknappers I visit with up in Missouri are so “christian” minded. I think, how the hell can you work with this stone, regaining an integral part of our human history, taking back the skill we gave up to civilized monopolization – and not turn animist?!

The biggest hurdle that any civie has to overcome lies in untangling enough of Mother Culture’s smothering tendrils in order to see the rest of the world around us. Quinn kicked that process in gear for me, but I have known others who have read Ishmael and not taken away the same sense that I have.

Paleoaleo’s tactic reads like bullshit to us because we see more than fun little primitive projects. We see these things as part of our future, and we want complete futures – as much as possible – so we don’t dare leave the religion and politics at the forests edge. But to him, all those heated topics just get in the way of enjoying their hobbies.

[quote=“jhereg, post:5, topic:414”]I know this is a huge tangent, but I’ve often thought that “stone age” didn’t even accurately describe the alledged “time period”. “Cordage age”, while a bit more difficult to say, seems far more appropriate to me. I mean, throwing and cordage strike me as the two most quintessential physical technologies of human beings.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program… :D[/quote]

Nice tangent, jhereg. Although, I think we (as civies) use that categorization because of weaponry and tools (weapons against the land). Indigenous people use stone tools (mostly), then metals came into the picture with increasing degrees of hardness (copper, bronze, tin, iron, steel [did I get the order right?])

But I like thinking about it in terms of throwing and cordage, too.

but I don't think I can hold him any more accountable for denying the sinking of the ship than I can any other Joe Civilized.

Yes, and it still makes me angry. Because it means we have less allies than I thought. Just feels like more work for people like us. :-[

Yes, and it still makes me angry. Because it means we have less allies than I thought. Just feels like more work for people like us. :-[[/quote]

That’s one way to look at it, but, I don’t know. Think too, having a place that’s “politic” & “religion” free probably does act as a gateway for at least some people. I mean, you have to start somewhere… right? That might be w/ Ishmael, but it also might be w/ learning some physical skill that indigenous peoples used regularly and just be impressed enough by it to take a second look at those people.


I dunno. It’s a big, big world. I think, in the end, it’s probably best all the way around that both and paleoplanet exist (as is). I hope that a lot of people at paleoplanet end up spending time here as well, but…

Yes, and it still makes me angry. Because it means we have less allies than I thought. Just feels like more work for people like us.

It’s only more work if you go into a primitive hobby site thinking that the want more than a hobby. But if you think of them as ordinary civies, then it’s less work – like jhereg said – because they have a gateway hobby.

Quinn really made me think about the evils of civilization, but the ground work for me had already been laid by foraging and an interest in aboriginal cultures.

I understand your anger, Scout. We definitely don’t have a “rewilding” ally per se, but we can still have an ally in the physical part of our rewilding. And hopefully, through that, we can draw attention to the invisible aspects of rewilding, as well.

I agree.

And though, when I see people misuse primitive skills I can’t help but feel like someone has just turned my church into a bar.

It just hurts and angers me.

Don’t worry, I just use that as more fuel in the end. It doesn’t feel like more work… I mean, after the tears.


I get that. Nice analogy, by the way.

I like to use the term Aboriginal Technologies rather than Primitive Skills when I talk about the physical skills. I think that term better expresses what I’m interested in and doesn’t have the same connotations associated with the word primitive that so many get hung up on.

As far as the politics, chicanery, and the money changers in the temple, well, I come from a time of learning these skills when we didn’t have all the ways of connecting and exchanging with people that we do now. I am happy to have the Rabbit Stick and Paleo Planet just because I can find other like minded folks, just as I found Scout at RS and Glen (RedWolf) from PP among the many others who share common ideals. I think I may be the rainbow child Mormon guy Scout was talking about in his blog post!

I think a little look at where a person is physically and what they do for their living will tell you a lot more about why they have the perspectives that they do as far as having allies. There was a thread in the primitive living forum on PP where I was asking about people’s thoughts on collapse and possible strategies. It seemed to me that those whose lives depended on the continuation of the current paradigm were more likely to poo-poo the idea of collapse while those of us who live as if it were already or were preparing ourselves to live that way tended to believe that the crash is immanent.

I had a similar exchange with someone who watched Cody Lunds presentation on urban collapse. This person was talking about how wretched it will be to have dead bodies all around. I said something like what did she think it would be like in an urban area? She said that the important thing was that folks needed to understand what would happen and that it was understanding the potential reality and what one should do about it. I said what one should do about it, if they really believe it is going to happen is to move to a low population density area, like Montana, so they don’t have to deal with that particular scenario. I could tell that the concept of getting away from the shit before it happened was never even in her radar. I guess I really don’t get how people think……

Hello all, I am posting a response I made to Peter’s original post here. It is my hope that we can use this discussion to generate something collaboration, rather than more divison.

Hi Peter,

It was good to see you at Rabbitstick this week, I am glad we made the connection. I have been tossing and turning for the last day or so after reading this post, though, and thought perhaps I had better respond for my own sake.

The community at Rabbitstick is my family more than any others have been in my life. It hurts me to hear them misunderstood, especially the folks at Rabbitstick that I consider my elders. I am a person who does not enjoy controversy and conflict very much, so it is difficult for me to write here. Maybe this can begin a conversation that we can have in person.

I’ve been going to Rabbitstick and Wintercount for nearly seven years now, and though it’s not been all that long, it has been long enough for me to see how Rabbitstick has evolved over time and how conflict has been resolved and community maintained.

I would like to respectfully address some of your comments, pardon my lack of eloquence.

  1. “…Exemplifies how un-indigenous Rabbitstick feels”.

The structure and environment feels very much like a native community to me, in the experiences that I have had at Celilo Village, Old Masset Haida community, and a few others. The elders make decisions invisibly, things are done slowly and methodically, and there is an evolution to the way Rabbitstick is run. Rabbitstick is very decentralized, with no charismatic leaders, many cultural rules that remain unwritten. Respect is earned by a person’s actions, value to the community, and dedication to the community. Most of the elders have spent a significant portion of their lives both living in one single place as a primitivist and living under the wing of native elders in their own communities. It is true that Rabbitstick’s origins are from anthropologists and has been academic. However, the academics at Rabbitstick are another breed and anthropologists today are very different than they once were.

Elder Margaret Matthewson apprenticed with Pomo weaver Mabel McKay. David Wescott lived in the Arctic in several Inuit and Y’upik villages. David Holladay is a highly respected part of the Tar’hu’mara community in Copper Canyon Mexico. Robin Blankenship regularly visits native communities all over Central/South America, and even old Eastern European communities. Lynx Vilden has lived with the Sami of northern Europe. Sunny Baba lived during walkabout with an aboriginal band in Western Australia for six months. The list goes on and on. These are my elders, and I have nothing but great respect for their collective experiences and understandings of remaining aboriginal cultures.

In addition, many of the younger people at Rabbitstick have traveled extensively and lived with native peoples in their own functioning communities. Tycho Holcombe and Miguel Arrevalo have lived with the Warani hunter-gatherers of Ecuador for fifteen months now, and Miguel lives there currently. Jose Amoedo lives right on the border of an Athabascan village in Yukon and fishes salmon with them. Patrick Farneman is a counselor for the Spokane tribe.

Before I get carried away here, I just wanted to demonstrate that the core group at Rabbitstick are people who are very dedicated to learning about and understanding native and aboriginal cultures wherever they are, and many have spent the majority of their lives putting the lessons they have learned from those communities into practice in their own communities. Indeed, folks from Rabbitstick are some of the only people I have know that have gone out of their ways to get to know the existing native people and communities in their own hometowns.

In addition, I have seen David Holladay give a Tarahumara man the literal shirt off his back. David Wescott has participated extensively in creating programs to help Alaskan Native youth continue to learn their traditional ways. Patrick has literally saved the lives of a few Spokane youth from suicide. When I walk into the home of Hawk Hurst, I see many gifts given to him by tribal elders for the help he has given over the years.

Rabbitstick on the surface does not look like a native village. There are RVs parked next to teepees, and tarps flying in the wind. Even so, it is my village. I live by its rules, and its culture. I trust and respect the elders, who make decisions so carefully and wisely that the way the community functions is invisible. That did not happen overnight, it happened over twenty years with an immense amount of effort on many peoples’ parts. If there is a community anywhere that actually functions in a way feels like an indigenous community, I would call it the Rabbitstick Rendezvous.

  1. “Primitive skills, as defined as replicating physical artifacts, does not push any real civilized buttons or encourage any kind of social change.”

Within your definition, I would agree. Many at Rabbitstick would say that they use the term primitive skills only because there is not a better phrase to encompass the range that is present at Rabbitstick. For me, primitive skills encompasses the entire range of tools and techniques that humans utilized prior to bronze. This includes such things as language, community-building, trade, resource harvesting, getting along with your neighbors, foraging, herbal medicine, diet, spirituality. Each one of these things was addressed at Rabbitstick directly through a workshop or discussion, except for language, which has not had a workshop for two or three years (and is a gap I would like to fill myself next year).

Lynx Vilden and her students talked about community building a great deal when talking about her primitive living projects this year. The Rabbitstick trade blanket deals with trade, as well as direct trading of hand-harvested materials all week long. Willows, cattails and tules were collected all week from the Rabbitstick site, with Kyle speaking extensively about how to harvest tules without damaging the area. Patrick spoke about connecting with native neighbors this year, and about some of the insights that native people have given him over the years. I taught a small game hunting and coastal foraging class. Cat Farneman taught medicinal harvesting, tincture making all week long. Steve Watts came and had a long discussion about his exceptional experiences with a paleolithic diet during Lynx’s presentation. Star addressed cosmology and spirituality of several Central American groups, I had an unofficial group discussion about animism all week long.

Social Change: Sunny Baba spent an entire day dedicated to working with people individually to help them learn how to overcome their own personal challenges to live their lives more locally and sustainably. You yourself, Peter, had an excellent discussion about social change in an urban environment. Woniya and Patrick hosted a Social Change and Primitive Skills Forum, and ironed out many details about specific actions taken on both personal levels and in a larger Pacific Northwest context.

I would say that Rabbitstick lends itself to opportunities and acts a catalyst for direct personal and community social change on an action (rather than talk) level than any other single gathering in the United States.

  1. “You made a bow and some arrows? Cool. But do you know which deer to kill to strengthen the ecosystem? You can’t separate ecology from hand-made tools.”

In the world we live in today, most nearly everyone has not grown up in a native cultural context with the old wisdom. We are forced to relearn and reinvent our relationship to the land, and a new land at that, and the people at Rabbitstick are people that are actually pursuing that relationship directly.

I would have to say that knowing which deer to take requires actually spending time watching deer through the seasons on one’s stomach and in the trees. The only people I know that actually are out there and are close enough to watch the deer and their patterns are actually hunters. Most nearly every successful bowhunter I have ever met actually knows their quarry well. They know where the deer go, where the weak ones are, which ones the wolves will take away. That kind of understanding in my experience has only come from the passion of hunting, and particularly from bowhunting with primitive weapons.

The only people i have ever met that have been successful primitive hunters have been at Rabbitstick. Even at Rabbitstick, there are not enough with a lot of experience. When I teach Small Game Hunting at Rabbitstick, I encourage people to do everything they can to actually get out there and hunt. I encourage them to learn how to cook game well, how to marinate their meat. Those are the things that make them get out there. I encourage them to work hard on their bows and make them fast, because their pride in their weapons gets them out there.

Any of the things I have learned about harvesting animals in my years that have not come from directly watching deer themselves, has come from other people at Rabbitstick. I have learned that there are many places in the continental U.S. where as much as a third of the deer don’t make it through the winter, dying from starvation.

I been learning how to harvest cattails by harvesting extensively from several areas and watching the effects. Sometimes I make mistakes, and overharvest. Even so, it directly affects my life, and so I pay attention to my actions. I then carry that information with me and pass it down wherever it is appropriate, sharing and learning from other primitive skills practitioners for whom cattail harvesting is not about theory, but about a way of life.

Indeed, there are article in the Society of Primitive Technologies Bulletin about proper harvesting techniques, both as observed in the past and through direct experience today. We have so much to learn, which we will never master in our lifetimes, but I watch the young ones that have grown up in the Rabbitstick family and know that they will be standing on our shoulders when their own families are living close to their land.

  1. “For those who dream of a culture of rewilding, Rabbitstick does not look like the place.”

This may well be true depending on what is meant by rewilding, of course. I do know that the only rewilders I have met that have actually had experience rewilding and living close to the land have all come through Rabbitstick, learned as much as they could, and come back and shared their experiences. Lynx’s program brings many of the dedicated, as does Wildroots in North Carolina, both associated with Rabbitstick and Wintercount.

Rabbitstick is one of the only primitive skills gatherings that is less bioregional specific. This is mostly due to history-- Rabbitstick began the primitive skills movement more than twenty years ago, and without it, none of the other bio-region specific gathering would exist. Here are some bioregional specific gatherings, all founded and maintained by either long time Rabbitstick or Rivercane (East Coast Rabbitstick equivalent) core members: Echoes in Time, in Oregon, NativeWays in Minnesota, Falling Leaves in Georgia, Northern Lights in B.C., Rain’s End in Oregon, Rattlesnake Rendezvous in California, WinterCount in Arizona.

I think that one of the major differences between the rewilding movement and the primitive skills movement might be that rewilding is a culture based on ideology, and primitive skills is a culture based on ancient ways of life.

There is less philosophical discussion in primitive skills circle precisely because primitive skills exists as different things to different people-- it is a way to learn the tools and techniques of living in close relationship to the land. Most folks involved in primitive skills are less inclined to speak about a philosophy of living close to the land, because they have already made their decision. They are looking for the how, and sharing their experiences.

I would have to agree with you Peter, in that the way the primitive skills movement is today, there is a need for more emphasis on the invisible skills of cultural change, especially in terms of language, storytelling, social structure. It is my hope that rather than looking at the Rabbitstick Rendezvous as a place where gaps in a larger context are lacking, you see an opportunity to bring your own expertise into a rapidly growing culture and that together we might make something our children can grow into with pride.

Respectfully, Kiliii

A Rendezvous does not work the same way as a community. A rendezvous implies people temporarily leaving their home communities to share and trade and meet with other communities. Indigenous, by definition means native to a place. Rabbitstick Rendezvous could happen anywhere. It has no bioregional ties because it merely acts as a location for trade.

You have conflated my critique of the Rendezvous itself, with your personal connections made and sustained out side of and during the rendezvous.


  1. an agreement between two or more persons to meet at a certain time and place.
  2. the meeting itself.

A social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars.

The Rabbitstick “Community” (which you are a part of and I am not) is distinct in respect to the larger Rabbitstick “Rendezvous” (which you and I are both attendees) within which it exists.

If your goal involves rewilding (undoing domestication), as mine does, than that also means abandoning civilizations mythologies such as Christianity, Mormonism, Atheism, Scientology, etc. Do to their “other-worldly” dis-associations from the land. Animism, the religion practiced by all indigenous peoples, holds within its mythology a “how-to” manual for using primitive skills to live sustainably. Civilizations mythologies do not. Therefore, anyone subscribing to civilized mythologies will use the tools unsustainably. If you teach primitive skills in a way that does not center around animism, than you are not teaching how to use the skills in a sustainable, indigenous way. Therefore, a “non-religious,” a-political event simply means that people will come and learn the skills and use them however the mythology they have tells them to.

Here’s the catch; civilization’s mythology is killing this fucking planet. :slight_smile:

Some people may discover animism by learning some of these skills. But all would discover it if the rendezvous had the intention of creating new cultures that do. But it does not serve that purpose… AND THAT’S OKAY!!!

It has a function; share, teach and learn hand-made arts and crafts of stone age peoples. Some people are animists, some are not. That’s fine. It’s dandy… but its not an intentionally rewilding culture; it’s a first step towards animism for some, not for others.

Because I believe we’re headed for serious trouble, and I know that animism is a manual for sustainable living, it seems detrimental that we start creating intentional, PLACE-BASED rewilding cultures. I’ve taken several steps beyond the “first step” toward an animist lifestyle and want more than what Rabbitstick Rendezvous had to offer. Though from your words, it sounds like you see more in it than I do, since you are a member of the “community.” Though, looking at it as a community, it also doesn’t look that appealing, since it is not a place-based (the meaning of indigenous) community, but a long-distance one. And that’s okay too. I have friends who live far away and support me, who I see a few times a year or now and then. But I want a sustainable, rewilding culture right here in Portland OR. I want them all over the planet. I want to do everything I can to help the future generations so when I die I’ll know I did my best. We have to take people beyond the first step that they may or may not take. We have to use cultural mentoring techniques to show people the world through native eyes. That’s what I have been doing for 10 years now and that’s what my critique was about. No, I don’t look like a primitive person; I don’t wear buckskins, but I have worked towards having the mind of an indigenous person. Indigenousity and Rewilding is fundamentally about how you see the world and connecting to one place; not the clothes you wear or the tools you use or having communities with members living 1000 miles apart and seeing each other once a year. It’s one thing to cross-pollinate your local communities at a Rendezvous or at, its another to rely on a community as distant, abstract, temporary and disassociated from your landbase as this website.

I’m still planning to attend Rabbitstick next year but only if I can go as an instructor in cultural mentoring; a concept I didn’t hear spoken of once.

Hey Crash,

Haha. No you weren’t the mormon or the rainbow child. But now I know you’re both and I still think you’re cool.


Wow. Nice posts. Nice to see you Kiliii, my daughters had fun with you.

I was getting on here to post a sort of question that comes up for me reading the FAQ and the info posts. Then when I read the newer posts I realized how my own life was mirroring both of the last 2 perspectives posted.

My first Rabbit Stick was 15 years ago. I took a long sabbatical at one point but I have taught at the stick 3 years. I have lived in pretty primitive forms here in the PNW with some of the people Kiliii refers to, believing so much in what we were doing to choose to birth my oldest son .5 mi. from the nearest road, 1.5 hours from the nearest hospital in a dwelling made of lodgepole and canvas, without a midwife, with no running water or electricity. From my experiences I realized that to truly live primitive it takes a tribe and that we Americans are too damn spoiled to pull that off in anything that remotely resembles a community, except a long distance one.

I now live with my back to the forest making my living as a traditional tanner, packing a pager to run on a paid ambulance service serving a large area, wildcraft medicinal herbs, and raise organic meat and veggies. I can walk to Canada from here, a country with only 25 million and the 4th largest country in the world with amazing resources and really cool people.

At this point I feel like I’m doing the best I can with where I am at which at this point means living a smaller footprint, recognizing I’m taking care of children as a single dad. I learned in the forest that we could not take care of all of our nutritional needs. I don’t know of a single outdoor program that does not import food.

So I grow and gather as much as mine as I can, almost 50%. Even the grain I feed my critters with is free as it comes from a brewery; I just have to pick it up. I also use it in my garden. I’m currently trying to work at seed saving and to create genetics that work well here or further north.

This is my walking my truth and learning from what I’ve done, as well as modeling the acts of a warrior for the warriors which I raise. It is this lifestyle which I think would conflict with the nature of this sites ideology, which Kiliii pointed out. Does this fit in with what this site is about?

Being raised Mormon and then traveling with Rainbows my first thoughts of the RS was that is was like Rainbow Family with their shit together, but things have changes since I first went in 92. There used to be a sweat lodge running fairly often, to my understanding there hadn’t been a lodge there for 10 years (?) until I built one last year. People didn’t seem to have the desire to sweat much this year as the lodge went unused…

This is my walking my truth and learning from what I’ve done, as well as modeling the acts of a warrior for the warriors which I raise. It is this lifestyle which I think would conflict with the nature of this sites ideology, which Kiliii pointed out. Does this fit in with what this site is about?

I think the site’s ideology simply comes down to the fact that rewilding needs to encompass more than just sustenance – that we need to rewild our lives entirely.

As the individuals that make up the site, however, we all have different aspects of rewilding that we latch onto more than others. The heavier voices here like Peter, Jason and myself (while we each probably have our own personal agendas like everybody else) try to remind everyone to not forget that we need the more subtle aspects – the invisible technologies like community – in order to truly rewild and live lives as more than just survivalists.

I don’t think you conflict with the ideologies here. We all will have some way in which we don’t quite reach a fully feral life – because the presence of civilization simply prevents it. But I support and encourage anyone to take whatever steps they need to for their life – even if it means doing something that doesn’t match my own ideology – because we can all learn from each other’s experiences.

Hmm. Actually, I think that encompasses the ideology of the site as well – the learning from each other.

I’m liek to hang out here (as opposed to another primitive skills forum) because I’m primarily interested in the political, social aspects of rewilding. Knowing how to make a flint knife is awesome and all, but within my lifetime, even if civ crashed tommorrow, there would still be metal knives. Actually, I happen to love technology (you can stone me later if you like). Just like someone who doesn’t change their myths can use primitive skills in ways that prop up civilization, I thin a properly rewilded mind can find ways to use some non-paleo technologies in sustainable and primitive fashions. I think figuring out how to form healthy communities is the most important step of ensuring a future. I can take or leave the whole “primitive skills” aspect of rewilding. It’ll be decades, maybe centuries, before circumstances will require that I master those skills. I needed to master the skills of living well within the world at least 2 decades ago.

Rewilding, primitive skills, belly dancing, golfing…we all need to eat. It has always been food, water, shelter, fire even if that means in a persons McMansion or the archetypal caveman. I am interested in where my food is coming from as I believe you are what you eat and that what you eat affects your mind and how you percieve things.

During ww2 they encouraged people to grow gardens. They called them Victory Gardens. I call mine my Anarchy Plot.

Hey , um, Crash, goooood to see you here! I was great to meet you this year at Stick, and your daughters are wonderful people. I hope Hannah and Abbey aren’t fighting over that shirt…

I couldn’t agree with you more in that regardless of what ‘primitive skills’ might mean, we all need food, water, shelter/clothing and fire. I don’t reckon that any rewilder imagines they can get away at the collapse of civilization without knowing a great deal about the physical skills of obtaining good food and clean water, even in the short term.

There seem to be so many myths floating around about how ‘hunter-gatherers’ used to be and how good they had it, but the more I learn and experience, the more I temtem (feel/think in chinuk wawa) that some hunter-gatherers had it pretty rough, actually, and that a line between hunter-gatherer and ‘agriculturalist’ is pretty nonexistent. What might be the first civilization at Norte Chico in Peru arose without even domestication, from a fishing culture. Northwest Coast natives owned slaves and property without agriculture or domestication. Highly respected cultures like the Haudenosaunee people were most certainly agriculturalists.

It seems that as time goes by humans try to make their lives and culture better, by trading off some things for others-- fleas and parasites for chronic diseases and cancers, harder work in the fields to keep more children alive during tough times.

I try to live the best I can in the world with the people I know and the land around me, working towards my ideals, but respecting everyone else’s ways and ideas. I try hard to keep an open mind and a good dose of humility, to know that at the very least, I know very little about what has come before and what will come next. The only things I can be sure about are the direct experiences in my own life and the personal relationships I have with my family and my land.

On that level, it doesn’t matter what my ideology is or who I am, learning the primitive skills of food, water, shelter and fire improves my life and the lives of the people around me.

I certainly do not mean to antagonize anyone, but when the collapse of civilization occurs, I will be spending time with people who have direct experience with food, water, fire and shelter. At that point, your garden, Crash, will suddenly be very popular with rewilders.