And The Hits Just Keep On Coming, Part Two
Chilling as hell, isn't it?
Thanks to our last post, "The Hits Just Keep On Coming," we've received a flurry of responses and feel the post deserves a sequel.
A Teaching Drum survivor, who wishes to remain anonymous, sent us a lovely letter detailing their experience with Tamarack and the Drum. Naturally, it fits a typical pattern of abuse at Dan Konen's ponzi scheme of an outdoor school (where the "guides" do all the work, and he sits in the house most of the day writing his fakelore tomes). We've opted to publish excerpts from the letter. Some names and places have been removed to protect others' privacy.
Thanks to our wonderful new contributors, we are seriously thinking about starting an annual get-together for survivors. It sure would be great to sit around eating, drinking, and having a huge laugh at the unmitigated fool that is Tamarack Song.
Cheers, Anonymous. And welcome to our chorus of voices against the Teaching Drum Outdoor School. You make a difference, and we are so glad you found us.
I found your blog again, when an old friend who I met at the Drum contacted me and asked me to contribute what I could. I also just came from a local book store a couple of days ago and was horrified to see this appalling new book Konen has out now. It's aweful...truly a joke. He is a thief and liar of the highest order and needs to be shut down. I think that truth will win out. As my wife told me last night though, it is astounding how many lives he has. He just never stops and the abuse victims just keep piling up.
It was a great time in many ways and we learned a ton, became life long friends, laughed a lot, etc. That was until Dan showed up. We were abused, dressed down, humiliated and told we weren't doing things right...in the beginning it was jarring, but as we grew up (it happens) we would listen, sometimes even tell him he was full of crap and go about our business.
During that time, as I mentioned in my post, his wife/editor _____, cleaned out the house and left Dan one weekend when we were out in the woods and Dan was...well who knows where. In short order Dan got his hooks in a poor woman from _____ named ____. They were married after we left, but when she filed for divorce, she contact us to help her to get the court, etc. to see the truth about this monster. We still keep in touch.
It was also during the time he was chasing ____ that some of the worst abuses of "students" happened. They would show up for whatever class he had sold them and he would deposit them in the woods with us and leave. We had no idea where he went. We joked that he was probably out chasing some female victim and speculated about how we could save her.
Our place became a crash pad for survivors from Dan's BS and we would run into them everywhere--we would see them in shops, run into them at various events, or be introduced to them by friends. We became known as sort of the "Drum recovery psychologists." People even stayed with us for periods of time while they were recovering and trying to get their lives back. He steals things and he steals people's lives. He finds people who may be a bit naive, but mean well and want to learn about the natural world and living skills. As you probably know, he is very good at doing this also. I did watch people arrive and leave though and it was funny how, even when we were there, Dan would announce that some well known herbalist or something was coming for a visit. On more then one occasion we watched people drive in the drive, get out, walk around and get back in their car and drive away. You could feel the evil. That's why we stayed as far away from the bastard as we could when we worked there. The woods was a safe place to be and we tended to stay in places where he couldn't find us.
The hits do just keep coming as you say. After leaving the drum I did get involved in Treaty Rights. I was a witness for non violence and was on the front lines and became very, very close with several LdF tribal members--people who remain to this day friends and adopted relatives. Dan was not part of this...at all. Occasionally, while doing things with Native friends, we would run into him--at ceremonies, gatherings, powwows, etc. People kept a distance and, as I said, elders approached him on more then one occasion and told him to leave, or rebuked him for taking notes at ceremonies, etc. He was told in one situation he was making people sick. I have a dear friend from _____ who still has issues with some of the things he did there and continues to do. He is not loved at all in Indian Country as you well know. No matter what he says, I was there and watched him operate and saw the reactions people had to him and his poor wandering minion. He was considered a joke...or worse.
As far as Keewedinokwe, I knew her, spent time with her and my best friend was actually her occasional driver, helper and confidant in the last few years of her life. Kee spent lots of time at my friend's house. During one meeting there, I had brought along a dear friend and sister who is a tribal member and elder in Lac du Flambeau. When Kee and my friend saw each other they started crying and hugging...I had no idea what was going on. It turns out my friend worked with Kee some years before this and they had lost touch when my friend decided to become a sun dancer. I am telling you this because, despite what some say, Kee was the real deal. She as respected by spiritual people and teachers from all over the globe. Not surprisingly, lots of people wanted to be close to her...lots. She had this look that burned through your soul when you sat with her, asked her questions...you probably know what I mean. Dan never came up directly in conversations, although my friend who I mentioned above did ask her one time about him. She wouldn't talk about him. Other people that were around Kee for years said Dan did go to Garden Island one time many years ago. He spent time there, tried hard to get information from Kee and when he was told he wasn't ready...he left in a huff never to return. That's the truth about him and that relationship.
He certainly has that ability and willingness to drop names in deferential ways. He has always done that. Unfortunately, if you talk about people and how well you know them and how much you have learned from him, you better be careful that the people you tell this to, do not know the individual in question. I caught him in lies all the time. His school is not blessed by ., Mide elders from Mole Lake and Crandon do not work with him, he never had a relationship with Kee...etc. etc. I know this for a fact.
Anyway, sorry for the long e-mail. The truth does need to be told and thank you for doing your part.
Now we don't doubt for a second that Tamarack might be able to find a desperate person or two to try and confirm highly selective sides of his story, but what publishing this letter shows, is that a complete picture of Dan Konen's past is not possible without validation from people who have known him for a very long time, including ex-wives, ex-friends, and ex-students.
We believe we have found enough people who have witnessed or experienced Tamarack's abuse to invalidate his claims to legitimacy. That's the whole point of keeping this blog. To give anyone about to get involved with the Teaching Drum Outdoor School a more complete picture of Dan Konen's history. Sometimes what's missing can tell you more about a person than what's there.
Really, if Tamarack was truly what he claimed to be, would any of this be happening? People would be crawling out of the woodwork to defend him, not condemn him. And that ought to be enough to encourage any sane person to stay the hell away from this creep.