Starting from the end and working back (hey, I'm one of those "backward" people), I do know how to knap flint as well - and have the scars to prove it! The things I do best at are hunting, trapping, working hides (brain tanning and chemical tanning), making center seam moccasins and understanding animals. We lived in a tent from April till November. Did our cooking on an open fire, got water from a stream. Our house was two rooms, 26 x 26 on the outside, with an indoor hand pump and one propane light. We did have a car or truck for me to use to run traps, make doctor appointments, and go to powwows (Hey, we need some social life). There's a fundamental experiential difference between an anthropologist doing field work and me living traditional. I have yet to have an anthropologist actually lend a hand to help on the trap line or in the fur shed. They always seemed to know how to show up for meals though. Well, as long as they didn't know they were eating muskrat, coon, possum or some other furry woodland creature. My new wife says I could go much further but she had to attend a presentation today at the VA on treating PTSD in a culturally appropriate way, so she's wound up
No, I don't think an anthropologist's experience is less valid because it's written down. What I do have a problem with is the cultural bias in the anthropologists I've met and read. Some of the best I've read are Frances Densmore's Ojibwe books. Her writing is factually accurate for the most part and totally lacking in perspective. In our culture the why is as important as the how. My mind is going so much faster than my fingers can type. I really enjoy talking to you and don't want to spew trite answers which are worse than no answers at all.
Do you do historical reenactments? Before we moved to the city we used to do several rendezvous, reenactments of the pre 1840's fur trade. Most of them would love to have a flint knapper.
I really appreciate your desire to live simply and would be glad to continue this discussion either here or in a more appropriate forum. I'm sure there's so much we could learn each other. Before moving back to the woods in 94, I cowboyed and rodeoed from 66-88, taking time out for a tour of beautiful SE Asia in 70. Please keep in touch.