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Mountain Festival

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 5 months ago

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The Mountain Festival is the pre-eminent political event of the Appalachian Confederation.


  • When: After the "Dog Days of Summer" in late August, when Sirius is no longer in conjunction with the sun, and before the autumnal equinox.
  • Where: Seneca Rocks, West Virginia, where the Haudenosaunee Seneca once hunted in the summer.
  • Notes:



Upcoming Mountain Festival


The 2006 Mountain Festival will be held 15-17 September 2006 at the Princess Snowbird Campground in Seneca Rocks, WV





FREE! The campground requires $5 per person, per night, but the festival itself is free. Please email us anyway to let us know you'll be coming at mountainfestival@anthropik.com





The 2006 Mountain Festival will be held at the "Princess Snowbird Campground," literally across the street from Seneca Rocks, WV. The cost if $5 per person, per night for tent space, and the campground provides cabins (starting at $65/night, and some with jacuzzis) and "teepees" ($20 for 2 people per night, $3 for each additional person). Call ahead to make cabin or teepee reservations at 1 (304) 567-2351


"Modern pavilion, charcoal grills for cooking and an open pit for campfires", bathrooms, showers and even an indoor swimming pool provided. Rather than try to fight the Noble Savage, we're going to stare it right in its mythological eye and recognize the inescapable fact that we can't run away from our imaginations.




  • Friday, 15 September 2006 Arrival and orientation, starting at 2 PM.
  • Saturday, 16 September 2006 Main part of the festival: see below.
  • Sunday, 17 September 2006 Departures throughout the day.


This Mountain Festival will see the attendance of actual tribes interested in joining the Confederation. This will be the most important event in the history of the Appalachian Confederation--in a very real sense, it's real founding. We will not only be accepting new tribes into the Confederation, we will also be deciding such important things as what a tribe is, what the relationship between the tribes in the Confederation is, as well as deciding the first clans and orders.


Since there is no strict reservation, the festival may continue unofficially as long as people continue to linger there.


What to bring


Essentially, you'll only need to bring what you'd need for any camping trip--or less. Some participants will be hardened campers, others will be novices; the Princess Snowbird Campground has amenities to cater to even the most neophyte greenfoot, so don't be intimidated. There is an interesting local selection of restaurants and stores for anything you might forget, but these are items you might want to bring regardless:


  • Clothing for mid-September in the Appalachian Mountains. It should be past the oppressive heat of August, but mid-September can still be quite hot and humid. Boots and extra socks recommended. Trunks, if you intend to take advantage of the pool.
  • Tent, sleeping bags, etc.
  • Bringing your own food can make things easier--and cheaper. Don't forget matches or whatever else you need to start a campfire to cook with.
  • Fun stuff! Instruments, games, or the tools of your craft if you want to show off what you bring to the Confederation.


Past Mountain Festivals




The 2005 Mountain Festival was originally billed as "Anthropikon MMV," but ultimately became the birth of the Appalachian Confederation. Accounts include:



About Seneca Rocks


The example set by the Haudenosaunee is one of the primary models for the Appalachian Confederation as a whole, and Seneca Rocks was an important place to one of the Haudenosaunee, the Onodowohgah, "People of the Hill Top," better known as the "Seneca." Seneca Rocks lay far to the south of the main Onodowohgah territory in what is now western New York, but they often came south for hunting in the summer. Seneca Rocks was one of the prime meeting places of the Onodowohgah and the Ska-Ruh-Reh (Tuscarora) who later joined the Haudenosaunee as the Sixth Nation.


Seneca Rocks has hosted human populations since the Archaic Period, but it has never been a place of permanent settlement. Rather, for each succeeding group, it has been a place for festivals and seasonal camps. In the majestic shadow of those mountains, it's easy to see why.


The legends that currently echo in that land concern primarily a Seneca chief called "Bald Eagle," and his daughter, "Snowbird." Kanawha County History records:


In 1772, a series of incidents between settlers and Indians in West Virginia ended what had been nearly eight years of peace. During the spring of that year, several Indians were murdered on the South Branch of the Potomac River by Nicholas Harpold and his companions. About the same time, Bald Eagle, an Indian chief of some notoriety, was murdered while on a hunting trip on the Monongahela River.


Bald Eagle's death was a flare point of renewed conflict, and as such, we should expect his life to be mythologized as other such figures have been. In fact, the stories about Bald Eagle seem to echo in many ways the patterns of legend that developed around King Arthur. Like Arthur's Camelot, Bald Eagle's time was an idyllic period before the Europeans came; like Arthur's death at Camlann, his passing marked the beginning of a period of strife and conflict, a dark age; like Arthur, Bald Eagle's legends make him largely peripheral to the stories about those around him. Take, for example, the Seneca legend of how Bald Eagle sent Mud Turtle to the end of the earth. The hero here is not Bald Eagle, but Mud Turtle.


Or, take the most important local legend of Seneca Rocks, that of Bald Eagle's daughter, Snowbird.


The only daughter of chief Bald Eagle and his wife, White Rock, was Snow Bird. As a young girl she played at the base of these towering rocks, often gazing at their topmost peaks and longing to be able to climb to the tallest of them. As a young woman, she became the most beautiful of all the maidens of the Senecas. Her rank and beauty brought many men from her tribe and neighboring tribes courting her. The rivalry caused her to face the serious problem of choosing a mate. When the day arrived to choose a mate, seven young warriors, all suitors for the hand of the Seneca princess, assembled in an open space and arranged themselves in a semi-circle facing the mighty rocks. The faint-hearted had dropped from the contest, not daring to face the ordeal to which they were sure they would be subjected. Silence reigned on all sides. This rush of expectancy was on all until the beautiful Princess Snow Bird clad in the royal garb of her tribe, moved swiftly and gracefully into the circle and faced her lovers. She lifted her hand and silence fell upon the assembled. Ever since I was a little girl, I have watched yonder rocks push their rugged summits into the heavens and many times I have longed to be able to climb to their topmost crags. There have I spent the happiest, the most enjoyable days of my life. Of all the Seneca Indians, I am the only one who has accomplished the feat. One day, about a moon past, I decided upon a contest, a trial of bravery and endurance. You will soon engage in this contest, and to the successful one of you, I will give my hand, my heart and my life."


Princess Snow Bird set out on the journey, followed by the seven braves. Upward they climbed, the sure-footed maiden always leading. As the climb became more and more difficult, three of the seven turned back, dispirited and disappointed. Another followed to the fifth pinnacle and then wearied of the struggle and gave up. A fifth man crumpled in a heap near the same pinnacle and was rescued from death by the fourth, who led him back to safety. The two that remained followed closely in the footsteps of the maiden. Finally, with renewed determination, they set out on the last and most dangerous stretch of the journey, the maiden as always, in the lead. At last she reached the summit and turned to look for her most persistent suitor. He was only a few feet below her. In this moment of waiting, his foot slipped on the ledge of rock. The maiden hesitated for a fraction of a second. Was he not the bravest and strongest of the Senecas? Where would she ever find his equal? So with the alertness and strength of her young arms, she caught the falling brave and drew him to safety and to herself. Long they sat together talking of their future, and then as darkness approached, the two lovers descended by the trail at the rear of the gigantic rocks. They stood before Chief Bald Eagle and White Rock. The great chief conferred upon his newfound son-in-law the authority to become his successor as chief of the tribe.


Another legend states that Snowbird and the brave married in "the Grand Ballroom" of Seneca Caverns, the largest cave system in West Virginia, just a few miles south of Seneca Rocks.


The Appalachian Confederation is a new thing, but it is a new thing in a very old world. When the Confederation turns to its politics and the formation of bonds and aliiances, we return to Seneca Rocks, to remember the past--both real and imagined--that shaped us and brought us to the present.


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