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November 16th, 2005 Emily Cooper | News Stories
 

Willamette Week's Guide to Lewis and Clark Re-enactors

     
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Rumors reached Portland last week of a schism among the Discovery Expedition re-enactors heading our way to mark the 200th anniversary of Lewis and Clark's arrival at the Pacific.

It seems somewhere in North Dakota, the modern-day Meriwether Lewis ditched the modern-day William Clark and took off in his own canoe with three men and a dog, assuming the name "Lewis and Clark Then and Now."

Since then the two groups, doomed to follow the same trail, have occasionally bumped into each other at community events and television studios along the way.

Confused? We were, too. So last Saturday WW braved cold, rain and fry bread to track both groups to the mouth of the Columbia and figure out who's who. We return to bring you...

Willamette Week's Guide to Lewis and Clark Re-enactors

MeasureDiscovery ExpeditionLewis and Clark Then and Now
Websitewww.lewisandclark.netwww.ali.apple.com/lewisandclark
Fearless leaderPeyton "Bud" Clark, 61, of Dearborn, Mich.Scott Mandrell, 40, of Alton, Ill.
Goal(s) of the reenactmentTeaching people about Lewis and ClarkFollowing the trail as closely as possible; learning from, and reconciling with, Indian tribes
In their own words..."We are the living history group that has the actual re-creation of the Lewis and Clark boats." (Bud Clark)"Our group has been the group that has really taken the trip." (Scott Mandrell)
Claim to genealogic legitimacyBud Clark says he is William Clark's great-great-great-grandson, descended through Capt. Clark's third son.Churchill Clark, 41, who portrays Capt. Clark, says he is William Clark's great-great-great-great-grandson, descended through the captain's eldest son
Number currently in group20-258 (picked up some folks along the way)
Average age (subjective assessment)6545
DressWool or buckskin period costumes; strict uniform standards outlined in "Discovery Expedition Re-Enactor Guide"Eclectic; ranges from authentic Lewis-and-Clark-era regalia to modern-day fleece and Gore-Tex. Most wear beads, cedar hearts and veterans' ribbons "gifted" by area tribes.
Number of dugout canoe(s) used for Columbia River voyage41
Number of days it took crew to build canoe(s)611
Name(s) of canoe(s)NoneMatochanté (Lakota for "Bear Heart")
Where they're moored nowIn Chinook County Park, Wash."Pinned against the rocks" on private property just outside Chinook, Wash.
Found last Saturday...Demonstrating period tools and costumes for curious onlookersUnloading sodden gear into an empty room behind a hotel in Wheeler, Ore.—on the coast, south of Nehalem
Also attended that SaturdayCorps of Discovery II exhibit in Long Beach, Wash.; Destination: The Pacific event at Fort StevensChinook Nation commemoration event
Grand finale: what and whenEncampment at Fort Clatsop; Nov. 25-26Canoeing across the Columbia River, north to south, at the Astoria-Megler Bridge; when weather permits
Plans to reenact the journey home next year?"We're looking at funding issues and community interest, etc." (Bud Clark)Absolutely. "I feel incomplete." (Churchill Clark)
Quotable"We were pretty much in civilization the whole time." (Dick Brumley, 67, who portrays John Colter)

"We are a closer-knit American family than we were when this bicentennial happened." (Bud Clark)

"We're just re-enactors. We are not Lewis and Clark." (Brumley)

"We were out there every day slugging it out with the climate and the weather, and that's every day." (Mandrell)

"The love on the trail is there." (Churchill Clark)

"I feel every day his spirit inside of me." (Mandrell, of Capt. Lewis)

 
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