2016 Instructors

The instructors and the classes they teach are the soul of GLTAG. Our instructors bring a depth and range of skill and talent that is second to none - and rarely accesible in one place. Take a moment to look over our instructor bios - we are confident this is an event you will not want to miss!

All instructors and classes are subject to change - although it rarely happens, we simply can not control emergency situations that might prevent an instructor from participating.

Mike Miller - Twining and Netting

As a practitioner of outdoor living skills, Mike Miller has had a lifetime of rich experience. He has spent extended seasons living off the land, often living in bark covered shelters in the north woods. Mike has been a favorite instructor for over 10 years who has shared his knowledge and skills with countless students. One of Mike’s special interests is in simple textiles. He is known for his prized twined and netted bags hand woven from wildcrafted tree and other plant fibers. Mike is also an experienced trapper, hide tanner, forager of wild foods, and treasure trove of north woods knowledge and lore.

George Martin - Dahmnaaboo “Corn Soup”

George Martin grew up in Whitefish community of the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Reservation at Reserve, Wisconsin. He is well known throughout the Great Lakes Region and the Midwest as a traditional dancer and has a wealth of knowledge about Anishinabe dance tradition and protocol. George practices traditional peyote stitch beadwork making ceremonial dance sticks, canes, and rattles which can be seen at powwows across the U.S. and Canada. He and wife Sidney spend much of their time traveling to Anishinabe communities far and wide to attend ceremonial functions, support cultural events and activities, and to visit with friends and relations. This year George will be giving teachings on history, culture, and preparation of traditional Anishinabe corn soup.

Hugh Covert - Sailing and Historic Wooden Ship Construction

Captain Hugh Covert has been sailing since he was four years old and currently holds a USCG 100 Ton Near Coastal Masters license. With over four decades of experience, he has been at the helm of modern and traditional vessels - from tugboats and fishing boats to brigantines and schooners. He has navigated most of the major water bodies of North America from the Atlantic seaboard, Florida's Intracoastal waterway, the Everglades, the Bahama Islands, Chesapeake Bay, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Great Lakes, and down the rivers to the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. He has sailed the waters of the Canadian North Channel and most of the Pacific coast to Alaska. When Capt. Hugh is not sailing one of the four sailboats that he built, he can often be found captaining one of the Tall Ships on the Great Lakes.

                                                       Website:  www.shelterislandtransit.com

Bob Love (1949-2016)- Wilderness Navigation and Weather Prediction

We are saddened to report that Bob passed away June 24, 2016 at his home in Michigan. Bob was instrumental to the vision and  founding of GLTAG, and his support and guidance will be missed more than words can express. His GLTAG bio is unchanged below, his obituary can be found HERE

Bob is a skilled outdoorsman, and has served as the long-time central organizer of Michigan Flintknappers. We welcome him back to GLTAG as the ever-popular and insightful wilderness navigation and weather prediction instructor. Bob brings depth of knowledge and skills that can only come from years of experience, and we are honored to have him as an instructor.

                                                          Website: Michigan Flintknappers

Roger LaBine - Manoomin (Wild Rice) Processing, Ecology, and Preparation

Roger is an elder of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, based in Watersmeet, Michigan. He has been a leader of the effort to restore the manoomin plant in the Great Lakes region, and has devoted much of his life to raising awareness of the grain's cultural, historical, and spiritual importance. Working with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Roger has helped establish rice restorations in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. Few people have Roger’s depth of knowledge and respect for manoomin, and we welcome him to GLTAG!

Ferdy Goode - Birch Bark Mkuks (Baskets)

A one week birch bark canoe building workshop in 1979 on the Lac du Flambeau Reservation in northern Wisconsin gave Ferdy inspiration and motivation that has developed into a thirty-two year career making birch bark canoes and most recently other types of bark and skin canoes. Ferdy has created 67 birch bark canoes ranging in size from seven to twenty-two feet long. In addition to the full size canoes, he also crafts scale model canoes, canoe paddles, and birch bark baskets decorated with etched designs and porcupine quill embroidery. Ferdy’s delicate grace and meticulous workmanship - combined in a harmonious blend of function and art - define his traditional creations as some of the finest.

                                               Websites: Wordpress, Beaverbarkcanoes

Larry Horrigan - Firearms of the Fur Trade; Building the Dugout Canoe

Larry has had a lifelong passion for history, woodworking and replicating historic trade guns of both the black powder and compressed air type. As a traditional artist Larry’s skills range from timber framing and log home construction to bow making, crafting fine 18th century furniture, and of course building exquisite pre-19th century replica trade guns. He specializes in studying the lifeways of early French explorers and voyageurs. Using only period gear he has led a number of lengthy expeditions following historic fur trade routes including a large portion of the Lake Michigan Shoreline, numerous trips across the Straits of Mackinac, the St. Mary’s River and Green Bay.

Ben Piersma - Making The Bucksaw, Wilderness Camping

Ben’s full time job is testing, researching, and selling tools and outdoor goods for life in the north woods. He uses hand tools like axes, hand-saws, and knives daily for fishing, hunting, foraging, self reliance, and primitive bushcraft. Last year’s bucksaw class was huge hit, and Ben is back this year to share his backwoods skills.

                                                                        Website: Bensbackwoods.com

Amy Schmidt - Cordage and Fiber Skills

Amy started down her focused "off-the-beaten" path after finding her mother’s copy of Carla Emery’s “Encyclopedia to Country Living” 16 years ago. Since then, she has received her degree as a Natural Resource Technician, attended a Wilderness Guide Program and has worked in various plant-oriented businesses. She is devoted to sharing her passion of earth skills to any of those who want to listen, and currently teaches various nature based classes to children at Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary and to the public at her own Blue Hills Tipi Retreat. She enjoys her tipi time and is taught daily by her two wonderful children.

                                                     Website: Blue Hills Tipi Retreats

Daisy Kostus - Traditional Cree Rabbit Skin Blanket and Using Bones as Foods

Daisy grew up in the northern Quebec bush with her James Bay Cree First Nation parents and grandparents. She is a first-language fluent Cree speaker. Daisy’s family travelled by canoe, dog sled, and snowshoes as they hunted, trapped, and gathered while constantly on the move following traditional seasonal cycles. Daisy is truly a wealth of knowledge and skills ranging from traditional cooking and medicines to snaring rabbits and what can happen if you run while wearing snowshoes...  We are honored to learn from her and listen to her stories and traditional teachings.

Georgia Donovan - Paper Art, Botanical Illustration

Georgia creates intricate, detailed wildlife patterns in cut paper. The techniques also work with birch bark and as beading patterns. She has been teaching the art for many years, often working with community groups and elementary students, and her work is featured by galleries in several states.

Bob Berg - Copper Dart Points, Making the Atlatl Kit, Resin Hafting

Bob is the owner of Thunderbird Atlatl, known worldwide as a premier manufacturer of atlatls, darts, and accessories. He has spent the past few years traveling the world learning “primitive” and stone tool technologies with special emphasis on hafting and using the tools to complete practical projects designed to save the world. He has done extensive research and experimentation with resin glues like pine pitch, birch tar, and bitumen for hafting, waterproofing, and many other applications. Bob’s knowledge and experience using natural glues and stone tools is second to none, and you will be amazed by the effectiveness of his formulations.

                                            Website: Thunderbirdatlatl.com

James Blake - Making the Crooked Knife

James Blake is a independent historian and artist from West Virginia who has done consulting work for PBS and The History Channel as well as presentations for museums and historical events around the eastern woodlands. His work graces the cover of many publications. He has been interested In Native American History and Art since his youth. He works in traditional materials making period reproductions and contemporary art.a nationally recognized artist who has presented at venues ranging from museums to historical events for .

                                                                Website: jamesblakearts.com

Jennifer Lee - White Pine Bark Baskets

Jennifer Lee is a Grandmother who is an independent researcher of Indigenous History, and a student of the Indigenous Culture of the Northeast woodlands, past and present.

She lives with her baskets in a home-made house in Northwestern Massachusetts. Her life includes helping raise the Grandkids, growing food, teaching basket classes, and providing educational programs on woodland lifeways of the 1700’s.

Zac Fittipladi - Brain Tanning Furs and Hides

Zac made his debut at GLTAG in 2015, and this year he we are happy to welcome him back! Zac is an experienced tanner, and has taught the process to many people at events around the nation.

Peter McCreedy - Historic Antler and Bone Garden Tools

Peter is the director of the Willows Ecology Center at Chatfield School in Lapeer, MI. The Willows is the first commercial strawbale building in Michigan and incorporates numerous ecological design elements, including a passive solar orientation, solar electricity and hot water, and a living roof. Peter uses an earthen oven, swamps, gardens, a Mississippian thatch-roofed house, the river, chickens, fire, and other real world learning tools to supplement existing curricula and help people reconnect to Earth while integrating educational goals and having fun. He was awarded the Michigan Farm Bureau Agricultural Educator of the Year in 2010. Peter’s favorite possession is the homemade diving board for his pond.

Erik Vosteen - Woodland Pottery Cookware Replication

Erik Vosteen has been making and using pottery from local materials for almost 20 years. His specialty is making wares that can be used as durable, versatile cookware with materials gathered from nature locally. He has supplied museums, interpretive facilities, and researchers with functional replicated vessels for display and use, and has also demonstrated the suitability of open fired earthenware ceramics for such varied and extreme uses as making maple sugar directly from sap, deep frying, and baking.

                                                                          Website:     www.burntmud.com

Kristy Phillips - Loom Beading, Connecting Language to the Land

Kristy Phillips is a member of the Bodewadmi ndependages (Potawatomi nation), from the Mbish minë tthikwé ndodém (water and thunder clan), and a descendant of the Shishibéniyek ndaw (duck people). Kristy grew up on Citizen Potawatomi Nation territory in Maud, Oklahoma. She grew up with Sac and Fox, Potawatomi and Kickapoo elders who were knowledgeable with neshnabe language and cultural teachings.  She is the fifth generation to live in Oklahoma after the Potawatomi Trail of death and has moved back to her grandmother’s homeland in the upper peninsula of Michigan. She works as a secondary World Language Potawatomi and Indigenous Science Kenomagewen instructor at Hannahville Indian School. Kristy practices in many neshnabe cultural teachings such as Tthibékwé (Ghost Feast), Mëkëdéké (Fasting), Dodoéwen (sweats), and Wthinkdemok (Powwow). She has a degree in Cellular and Molecular biology and a graduate degree in Secondary Education as well as over 21 years of learning Potawatomi language and culture.

Laura Manthe - Oneida Lands, Culture, and Sustainability

Laura has worked for the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin at the Environmental Resource Board from 1996 to present as the Program Coordinator, Manager, & Director.  Her job duties include developing plans, strategies, goals, and objectives in accordance with the needs of the Oneida Nation and Tribal, local, state, and federal laws and regulations. This involves direct community engagement and education through activities, events, and projects. Some of the fun stuff she gets to do: facilitate cooperation between the cultural, economic, social, and political spheres of the Oneida Reservation to make decisions on controversial. She does all this while maintaining excellent communication practices to foster constructive partnerships with Tribal, Municipal, State, and Federal entities. This involves establishing and leading interdepartmental teams to advance sustainable design, energy efficiency, and natural resource conservation on the Oneida Reservation.

Frank Barker - Scrimshaw

Frank Barker is a Gun Lake Pottawatomi tribal citizen and a K-5 Art Educator for Dowagiac Public Schools. As a professional art teacher, he’s learned to be profiecant in many media; as a tribal citizen, he tends to specialize in media relevant to the Great Lakes native cultures.