Participants Guide to Rendezvous Days and Pow Wow - August 9-11, 2019

Partners walking away from the Great Hall
Partners walking away from the Great Hall

NPS Photo / Mark Tessier

Re-enactor in period dress enjoying Rendezvous Days.
Dina and Leo Lisovskis have participated in Rendezvous Days and Pow Wow for many years.

NPS Photo / Beth Drost

Rendezvous at Grand Portage

The Rendezvous is presented for the purpose of re-creating and interpreting the annual fur trade rendezvous historically held from 1730 to 1804 at Grand Portage. Monument staff and many volunteer re-enactors, possibly including you, present the historic encampment, demonstrations, and competitive activities. This annual event is designed to improve the public’s appreciation and understanding of important events at Grand Portage and of the Great Lakes Fur Trade, which influenced the history and exploration of North America. We welcome your participation and ask that you become familiar with the attached information. Doing so will help ensure an enjoyable event for all!

The Pow Wow at Grand Portage

The annual Grand Portage Pow Wow, sponsored by the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, is an American Indian cultural gathering focused on dance, song and family celebration. The Pow Wow includes traditional foods, music, and craft stands along with other events in the community. Over 350 dancers participated in last year’s Grand Portage Pow Wow. Mid-day Grand Entry Saturday and Sunday are particularly inspirational and colorful as U.S. and Canadian flags are raised to honor military veterans from Grand Portage. Staff bearers lead dancers, dressed in traditional regalia, into the Pow Wow ring. Through the Pow Wow, all people have the chance to experience Native American culture in a wonderful way.

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Tinsmith working copper at wooden table.
For many years, re-enactor and tinsmith Mr. Max Schram gave workshops to re-enactors and visitors during Rendezvous Days.

NPS Photo / Mike Plummer-Steen

Event Regulations

Grand Portage National Monument is part of the National Park Service. Regulations and laws that govern national parks remain in effect during Rendezvous Days, and are frequently quite stringent. Park rangers will enforce all such regulations as appropriate.

These regulations are meant to ensure a positive experience is had by all. Thank you for your cooperation!

You will be camping on historic ground. Please do not dig fire pits. When setting up camp, please completely encircle your fire ring with the available rocks and place a firm layer of sand within the circle to completely cover any exposed ground. Do not leave a burning fire unattended at any time!

No black powder is allowed and all historic weapons need to be approved and inspected by a camp Boosh-way. Federal regulations specific to firearms and explosives will be strictly enforced.

Please keep axes and knives in appropriate sheaths.

Smoking is not permitted inside the stockade, or in any park buildings. Clay pipes and chewing tobacco are acceptable, but no cigarettes, please.

Participants are not permitted to have pets in the historic encampment.

Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted during Rendezvous. No alcoholic beverages are allowed outside the encampment area during publicly attended periods of Rendezvous. Intoxication, and any improper actions as a result of being intoxicated, will not be tolerated. Be advised that the Pow Wow is an alcohol and drug free event.

Food and garbage must be properly placed in hard sided containers when not being transported, consumed or prepared for consumption. Food scraps need to be placed in proper trash receptacles, not discarded in the bushes or the lake. With increased racoon and bear activity, we need to take responsibility for proper food storage and garbage disposal in the encampment and within the Historic Site. If wildlife continues to successfully gain access to food they will continue to search for more. This can become an extreme hazard for public safety.

We are a GREEN PARK! Recycling facilities will be available near the large dumpster – please do your part by placing aluminum, plastic, and glass in their appropriate containers, and placing trash in the dumpster. Remember less is best! Please help us keep trash collection costs down by bringing your foodstuffs in period correct or reusable containers (that you can keep out of site in camp) to take back home with you!

Grand Portage National Monument does not issue commercial sales permits to vendors at this event. Under no circumstances shall vendors sell to the public on National Park Service property. There is to be no selling or trading of any kind during the publicly attended periods of Rendezvous (9:00 AM – 5:30 PM for 2019). Displaying sales items on blankets in front of your camp or on racks or hangers is not permitted. The park superintendent and law enforcement officer will discuss this policy in further detail with all individuals who bring merchandise to sell.

Re-enactor helps participants make dolls.
Mary Maule helps participants making cornhusk dolls.

NPS Photo / Mike Plummer-Steen

The Event

The primary focus of the Monument’s Rendezvous is the portrayal and re-creation on such historic activities held at Grand Portage some 225 years ago. We ask that you make friendly, personal contacts with our visitors. Such contacts will help create a truly interactive event. All interpretation should stress how voyageurs, clerks. Agents, partners, and American Indians lived in the late 18th century at Grand Portage. You can help our visitors understand what activities took place in the daily lives of these people, the problems each of them faced, and how they may have dealt with them. You can use your experiences to help bring the fur trade story of Grand Portage to life. All of our reconstructed historic structures will be accessible to historically dressed participants. We will be in need of volunteers to cover interpretive stations at various times during the event. If you would like to volunteer your services, please sign up with our camp Boosh-way (park staff in the encampment). We appreciate the help!

Rendezvous 2019 public hours for the historic encampment will be 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on August 9, 10, and 11.

Historical authenticity is important to our event! All participants are required to remain in historic dress beginning on Thursday morning and remain so throughout the weekend event. This includes concealing all modern gear and accessories. This policy is also in effect for participants needing to leave prior to the 3 p.m. vehicle access time on Sunday, August 11th. Remain in historic dress and cover any modern gear you are packing out. We are asking you to respect our event and your fellow re-enactors!

Available to Our Participants - The National Park Service provides firewood, water, restrooms, trash and recycling receptacles. Park restrooms will be open 24 hours a day starting Wednesday and additional portable toilets, including a handicapped accessible toilet are located near the campsites. However, we encourage you to use the modern toilet facilities as much as possible. Sorry, there are no on-site shower facilities available.

Swimming vs. Bathing in Lake Superior - Please feel free to enjoy the lake waters for swimming while you are with us. However, please understand that we must insist that you do not bathe in the lake with soaps or shampoos of any kind. Soaps that are marketed as “biodegradable” are manufactured for breakdown in soils, not water. There are showers (minimal fees charged) at the Marina Campground, and just up the hill at the community center.

ICE! - We will have an ice house available in camp. It will be located in the shade behind the Boosh-way's tent. Ice will be available beginning on Thursday afternoon in 5 lb. bags at a reasonable price. Correct change is really appreciated!! Each year the modest profits from ice sales are donated to a nonprofit organization here in Grand Portage.

Raffle - If you would like to donate a raffle prize (usually somehow connected to the themes of fur trade, re-enacting, Grand Portage) please leave your donation with a North American Voyageur Council (NAVC) representative. THANK YOU!

Games and Workshops - Some historic games and contests are open only to participants in authentic period dress. These events will be marked with a (*) next to the event listed in the event schedule (usually available in July). A reminder: workshops on Friday and Saturday are also open to the public, and will have a limited number of openings, so participation is on a first-come-first-served basis. There may also be fees for supplies and materials. Please sign up for workshops at the information tent near the North Gate.

Parents may sign only their own children up for workshops. The child need not be present, but we ask that parents respect posted age limits for our workshops. Given the limited amount of space in most workshops, (Special kid’s workshops excepted), we ask that only one member from each family sign up for any given workshop, and then share the skills with their family members back in camp. Doing so gives the most people the chance to learn a new skill. However, participants can sign up for more than one workshop during our event so long as they are the only member of their immediate family in any particular workshop. There will be no workshops or games scheduled during the Pow-Wow Grand Entry. We encourage all that are interested to enjoy the Grand Entry and other Pow-Wow events.

We welcome your comments and suggestions regarding Rendezvous Days and Pow Wow. Comment forms are available from your Boosh-way and at the tent at the North gate, or will be sent out via e-mail at the conclusion of the event.

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Re-enactors in period dress
Historic encampment Booshways and re-enactors in period dress prepare for a Flint & Steel fire starting contest.

NPS / Beth Drost

Arrival and Departure

You must be pre-registered(1) to participate in the event. Please see our camp Boosh-way to be assigned a campsite. Our camp Boosh-way will be on-site and available to assist you during the entire Rendezvous event. In addition to helping you get settled, our Boosh-way will have additional event information.

(1)The 2019 Rendezvous Registration Form can be found on the Rendezvous Registration Form webpage.

The following schedule applies to set-up and take down:

Please adjust your travel itineraries to set up in camp before 10:00 PM. We are asking this for the safety and consideration of all participants as well as our camp Boosh-ways. You can still sleep in camp, but you’ll need to be prepared to thrown down a bedroll and then unload and set up camp in daylight. No vehicles will be allowed in camp past 10:00 PM.

There will be no parking from the east side of the stone bridge to the entrance of the boneyard gate. This policy will be rigidly enforced.

A period of quiet time will be in effect between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. each day. During this period, noise must remain at a minimum out of courtesy for fellow participants. Contact our camp Boosh-way if you experience any problems with excess noise during these hours.

Wednesday….August 7, 2019 – Set-up begins at 3:00 p.m. (Vehicles Allowed) As always, participants must check-in and have their site verified by a camp Booshway before setting up camp regardless of when they arrive.

Thursday…….August 8, 2019 – Set Up All Day (Vehicles Allowed) Historic dress required

Friday……….August 9, 2019 – Set Up (No Vehicles Allowed between 9:00 AM & 5:00 PM) Historic dress required

Saturday….…August 10, 2019 – (No Vehicles Allowed) Historic Dress required

Sunday………August 11, 2019 – Take Down (No vehicles allowed before 3:00 PM) Historic dress required

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Flint and Steel Fire Starting
John Hayes starting a fire.

NPS Photo / Mark Tessier

Camp Equipment

The use of a canvas wedge tent, lean-to, or small wall tent is encouraged. Baker tents, tipis, and 1-poles are not allowed. Supply tents are discouraged. No tent can be larger than 10’ x 15’ in size. No stove pipes please!

Modern equipment such as coolers, sleeping bags, cameras, and plastics must be kept covered or stored out of sight.

Wood, tin, ceramic, copper, brass, and iron are all acceptable cookware. No modern enamelware or aluminum please.

All historic flags and banners displayed on canoes or within a camp should be representative of the time period interpreted during Rendezvous. You will be asked to remove ant flags or banners that are not appropriate for our event.

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Re-enactors enjoy the finger weaving workshop.
Re-enactors enjoy the finger weaving workshop.

NPS Photo / Lori Anishnabie

Fur Trade Fashions

Typical men's clothing may have included:

- Long-sleeved shirts made from a natural fabric such as linen, cotton, or wool. Please avoid polyester or non-period prints.
- Drop front or French fly breeches or pants, leggings and breech clout
- A blanket coat or capote
- A woven sash and leg ties
- Head wear such as knit-style caps, toques, beaver, rabbit, or wool felt hats, and scarves of a period fabric are period appropriate.
- Moccasins or cobbled shoes of a period appropriate design
- Ren-Fair and “Pirate” style clothing is not appropriate to our event.

Typical women's clothing may have included:
- Strap dresses, leggings, and sleeves made from a natural fabric such as linen, cotton, or wool are appropriate. Please avoid polyester or non-period prints. Western style buckskin dresses are discouraged.
- Skirts, chemises, short-gowns, and Empire dresses are appropriate
- Moccasins of a period appropriate design
- A woven sash
- Shawls and wool blankets for outerwear
- Scarves, beads, and trade silver representative of the period

JUST GETTING STARTED? If you have recently become interested in the fur trade era and would like to have more help in putting your historic clothing and equipment together, give us a call! We are happy to put you in touch with folks who can help and have historic clothing information available. Contact Grand Portage National Monument, P.O. Box 426, Grand Portage, MN 55605. Phone/TTY: 218-475-0123.

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Last updated: April 26, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 426
Grand Portage, MN 55605


(218) 475-0123

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