Saturday, 2 July 2016

Why am I here? or, the seemingly exclusivity of living history events

Why am I here?  Well, I'm a living historian, and experimental archaeologist so to speak.  I learn by doing in point the shirt warp, and yeah, sometimes the best lessons learned are those that took the hard way.

While we are in Quebec, I really want to do some living history events to see how things are done, differently?  on a larger scale? for a different audience? with different historical narratives? Fort Ticonderoga has been on my radar since I was a fresh faced 20 year old, first starting out in this profession.  It was big, like Louisbourg 94 big, in my eyes, but also in real life.  It has been a large event, with more living history people in one place than I can really imagine.  I didn't make it to the Louisbourg 94 event, I was still wearing a uniform then, looking after a bunch of cadets in Vernon BC that of my big regrets in life.
Fort Ti is putting on an event in a couple of weeks.  The fall of the Fort to Burgoyne and the British. Though Burgoyne wouldn't get very far in his intended campaign that year, it is one of those instances where I'm left wondering that if the British parliament had only supported its troops in America, that war may have gone very differently.  If only the British Generals in America actually supported one another...

But I get back to my story...

We are able to go to this event at Ticonderoga, having received permission to join in the fun just recently.  All Spring though, I have been thinking about my 'back story', the why behind why I would be at Ti.  As a Loyalist woman, where would I be coming from, how would I have gotten there, what would I have with me?  But since the early Spring, and the Boston Massacre event in March, I have also been thinking about whether I, as a woman, would actually be at Ti in this particular situation.

Ticonderoga has a wonderful information page for this event that has been shared around my facebook feed.  In it, they mention that the American women left prior to the troops leaving the fort in surrender to the British, and that the women were also captured by the British shortly thereafter.  I'm wondering how many women will be in the patriot camp that event weekend?  What will they be doing?  How many women will be in the British encampment?  Will there be any Loyalist refugees?

I could dig my heels in and say that I have just as much right to be at a living history event as any guy blowing off black powder, but do I really?  Is that the history I want to tell? As a woman, our stories have largely been overlooked.  You have to really search for clues as to where we were and what we were doing while epic historical events were happening.  But the herstory is there.  Nurses, laundresses, wives with children, and my personal pearl that I'm worrying of late, the refugee.

So if you spot Pierre and I at the event, skirting the goings on, on the battlefield, with our pack basket.  Pay us no mind.  We are only passing through. Trying not to grab attention from either side, lest we be mistaken for spies or deserters.  We are only on the long walk from New Jersey up to just south of Montreal where Pierre has family.

a little different from the story we tell while on the shore of Shelburne waiting for a plot of land to get started again.

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