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Hosted By

Santa Fe Trail Association

Bent’s Old Fort NHS

Otero Junior College

City of La Junta

Koshare Indian Museum

Bent’s Fort and the Southern Fur Trade

To paraphrase an old mountaineer:

“the happiest days of my life was in [learning about] trapping [and trading].”

NOW is that rare chance to venture into the southern reaches of the 1800s fur trade region and join your fellow Fur Trade Historians, Living Historians and enthusiasts at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site. The staff at Bent’s Old Fort, along with their valuable volunteers, and with assistance from area entities such as Otero Junior College, the Koshare Indian Museum, the Santa Fe Trail Association and the City of La Junta promise to develop a unique educational and entertaining opportunity for persons of all interest levels in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade.

The “best of the best” Historians, the best, juried, Living Historians, the best period Musicians of the Southern Rockies have been, and are being, sought to share their expertise with all who attend this valuable and insightful gathering .  These fine men and women will challenge the attendees of this Symposium to step back in time and envision themselves actually taking part in the Southern Fur Trade of in a time lost to the modern world.  In addition to the wealth of information offered through formal and informal presentations, Living Historians, period Musicians, and period food and drink will induce those in attendance to step back to 1842 and relive that time when “Skins Were Money.”  

Though there are few guarantees in life, the organizers of the 2015 Fur Trade Symposium do guarantee that this assembly will prove to be a unique opportunity to learn, enjoy and engage in the full scope and diversity of the Southern Fur Trade-an opportunity which has not been available on this scale since 1988.

The 2015 Fur Trade Symposium, returning to the Southern Rockies for the first time since 1988, will inform and entertain a wide-range of attendees on the full scope and diversity of the southern fur trade.  The Symposium will examine the breadth of the fur trade’s effects, including animal populations, people involved in the business, their lifestyles, interactions, economics and more.  The conference will enrich scholars, fur trade re-enactors and enthusiasts, students, teachers, the general public and all who have an interest in the history of the fur trade, the growth of the nation, and the distinct cultural interactions of the era.  

The Symposium will place special emphasis on the Southern Rocky Mountain trade through scholarly presentations, informal seminars and through Living History’ representations of those involved in the Southern fur trade during its peak.

The Historians

A Short Welcoming Video

The  2015 Fur Trade Symposium is Now History (Pun Intended)
By any measure this symposium was a huge success, thank you to everyone who contributed to making it so.  Great Speakers, Thought Provoking Topics, Interesting Field Trips, Delicious Foods, and Wonderful Opportunities to Mingle and Socialize with Fellow Fur Trade Enthusiasts.  If you missed out this year, the 2018 Fur Trade Symposium will be hosted by Fort Mandan/Bismarck N.D., start making your plans now.  

The Bismarck/Fort Mandan area is rich with fur trade era sites and stories.  This is the home of the American Fur Company’s Fort Clark and Lewis and Clark’s Fort Mandan.  The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara villages along the Missouri River were central throughout the fur trade era beginning with the early French and British traders, through American outposts later established and finally the independent trappers and traders.  
Last Chance!
To order your hardcopy or e-version of the 2015 Fur Trade Symposium Proceedings online. This website will  remain active only until March 9th, 2016.  
Don’t Wait!