Monday, December 13, 2010

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming, Part Two

"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."

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 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 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 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 Tom Brown Jr., 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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the many, many lies and distortions of the moron known as Tamarack Song is his connections to "teachers" who have supposedly mentored him like Grandmother Kee (to whome he "lovingly" dedicates) his horrid new book). Like so many of the names he drops (or makes up even), Kee was NOT someone tamarack had a real connection too...really at all. He met her (I do know that much), showed up a few times on Garden Island, may know a few people who are part of Minis Kitigan Drum (an organization of her students)...but that's it.

Hell I saw Bill Clinton one doesn't mean he was my teacher or friend. I guess if Tamarack had been with me that day, Ol' Bill would probably be showing up one of the wack job's books or something as the dude's blood brother or something. That is how he operates.

Peace all!

12/16/2010 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something I was told by a few participants or 'victims' of Teaching Drum while there was that they came from abusive and or brocken homes. Or homes where they were severly brainwashed with religion. So learning little to nothing while there would be ok for them because what they were really looking for was a place to escape to. Some were socially inept and had trouble relating to others around them, even forming eye contact. These people seemed to thrive in this environment because they were made to feel 'special' and a part of a culture. Notice how the word culture also has the word 'cult' in it. Funny how words work, huh? And you have someone like Tamarack who is a real smooth talker. Comes across as wise and soft spoken. Perfect qualities for a con artist to have. He uses the bull**** line of "whatever judgements other's make of him is only a reflection of how they feel about themselves."~ So the self righteous bastard doesn't have to take responsibility for any of his actions. I wouldn't be surprised if he, himself knew nothing about wilderness survival! For someone who talks about continuing practice of native ways ~ he has a fancy portable fireplace in his house, with his back always to me he starts fires. I never saw a bow drill anywhere but what I did see was a big box of matches under one of his desks.
To steal and take advantage of people who are genuinely interested an alternative ways of living... Who see through the bull of American culture and wish to live in harmony with nature!!! He has no shame. The day he is shut down will be a happy day for many he has victimized or could have in the future!

12/16/2010 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. I can tell you that he really doesn't know much. Just look at the hideous excuses for "braintan hides" he and his students actually wear. They look like burned potato chips sewn together with bailing twine. It gives artists who actually can tan a really bad name. The truth also is that he also CAN'T start a fire with a bow drill. In 20 years (and it I have heard well before that) nobody has ever seen him try. This kind of hypocracy was part of what broke apart a previous "community" that predated the Drum in Pembine. Basically people really mastered some skills and Dan still pretended he was lord, master and judge. I know I left the Drum for the same reasons. Others certainly have too.

Those that have been around to see things for awhile certainly will remember how he also plays "Tom Sawyer" with skills in that (and a great example was dugout canoe making...a perfect example because he knew NOTHING about the skill prior to the his own admission) he has no idea how to do he puts a class together, people pay, and then they show up and find out that (in a conveniant bait and switch) there is a convenient philosophy at the Drum that doesn't believe in teaching exactly and "students" procede to work their butts off in some attempt to master a skill they thought they were taking a "class" to learn. Dan secretly has no clue, but uses his whole guru approach as a way of deflecting criticism. He walks away at the end with the cash and any experience gained or things created and he can pass it off as his own. Masterful con I must say.

12/21/2010 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. You know, his 'supporters' should ask this guy to actually prove he knows ANY survival skills, by showing he CAN do it! If he refuses, they will have to be faced with the fact that he IS full of you know what!

12/21/2010 3:41 PM  
Blogger Nemeses said...

Hi All Anons:

Before we comment on your generous comments, we need to ask a favor of you.

Can you please give yourself a handle by selecting the "Name/URL" radio button under "Choose an Identity." Once you have a name, it makes it easier for us and our readers to address you each individually. Thanks loads!

Also, we'd really like to know if any of you can point us towards some artists whose hide tanning work could be compared to the "burnt potato chips" made by Drum students. It'd be great to publish some comparison photos on the front page of our website, and we are kicking ourselves that we never thought to do this before.

Cheers, for the great observation.

12/22/2010 12:12 PM  
Blogger Nemeses said...

We also agree that traumatizing situations like Tamarack's are going to attract the traumatized, as each struggles to learn that s/he has a right to be treated with respect.

Sometimes it takes several abusive situations for an abused person to finally see the pattern.

It has always been our hope that this blog will reveal that pattern and help people break free of the abuse.

12/22/2010 12:16 PM  
Blogger Nemeses said...

Definitely, anyone foolish enough to still be considering becoming one of Dan Konen's customers should demand that he prove his claims.

There should be world's of how-to videos coming out of the Drum anyway.

Oh, yeah. We guess they don't produce those because of some self-serving stance against "teaching" the skills we all know they don't have.

12/22/2010 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Just me said...

After hearing a friend tell me about Wildmoon and this blog, I decided to do a bit of research.Not only did I find a website where Wildmoon and Tamarack Song is blacklisted ( Its a native site) but I also found that they have a Wildmoon Europe.Since it is located in Sweden, where I live, and I noticed that there is no org nr on the website ( which any serious organization will have ) it sparked my curiosity and I decided to email them and ask them a few innocent questions.Trick I would call it I guess because I mixed up the questions of the 800 Euro adventure with asking about the org nr, knowing that you can have an organization without really having a company.Ofcourse, whoever replied to that, didnt catch that and apparently got a bit nervous because she instantly wondered why I asked how they were organized and also (ooops) mentioned that they arent a company.Hmmm.In this country, taking out 800 Euro, Id say is enough for you to have to start a company, or SOMETHING.I also got the question if I may tell them a bit about myself, which I felt no need to do when I simply asked for the org nr and more info on what Im paying for. I eventually received a second email with some questions answered on what I would be paying for, and this incl staff costs.WHAT? what staff? are we talking about the guides that let my friend go into the wilderness with people that didnt treat her very nicely and came home sick? Thats interesting.
800 Euro is a lot of money.Any serious business that takes 800 euro out for anything, should ( if not have a company ) atleast have darn org nr on their website .They have neither of this.A bit fishy? Yeah, just a little.
I love the fact that the darn thing is on an Island too.I would hate to be one who gets stuck with these people on there.

12/28/2010 2:35 PM  
Anonymous helper said...

I guess I would be "anonymous" #1 then Nemisis. Mine was the first response.

1/16/2011 4:39 PM  
Anonymous helper said...

I'm curious about what "wildmoon" is. Is this a drum offshoot?

1/16/2011 4:41 PM  
Blogger Nemeses said...

Thanks, Just Me for your heads-up on the European Wildmoon experience.

Helper, here is the link to the Amerikan Wildmoon ad on the Teaching Drum page.

This is the Europe version:

Both appear to be Tamarack's same ole fakelore shite rebranded for those not willing to pony up the $8000 plus for the full Wilderness Guide program lasting 11 months.

1/18/2011 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe nemesis you can make a post on the raditon of fukushima affecting native alaskian peopls and native americans or haida gwai or first nations on the west coast

4/12/2011 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello Nemesis,

i realy would appreciate. if youor me or someoneelse can write a clear text without any swearing words. What is the fact on teachingdrum what they are doingand how they offend and assault others. They should be now enough inormations on this people. i know someof them and they are somehow nice guys. i think there way of getting in touch with the wilderness is unique. it should use the spiritual and cultural traditions carefully< and in a good way and respectful. I planning how to do so. im also not happy for the 800euro one of the wildmoon wanna have from me, if i attend the wilderness course. sp more clear and fast we do something. so more fast we can get results. and i not mean something bad. the first thing should be explaining about the right use of cultural heritage. ow they should use the cultural heritage of the objibwe and what they are doing wrong or not good.

i think there are people open for change. dont be too offensive. I more know the europe people.

i think the wildmoon europe can be more free than the wild moon in winsconsin cause tamerack isnt there. Tamarack is a guy which i dont have a clue on. people are very differ in their opinion on him.

some people realy learned a lot from the year long in teaching drum and would never change anything. other not like and failed. its a complex topic. but it should be spoken on it.

4/19/2011 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Jobu said...

Here is what I know on Wildmoon Europe. It is run by a graduate of The Teaching Drum. The folks I met in the yearlong claim he is actually a really great guy. I guess the idea is he makes some money taking people out for a week or more and they get a taste of what they would experience if they enroll in Tamaracks year long program. It must be done with Tamaracks permission as none of his graduates would have the stones to do anything against Tamaracks will. When graduates cross Tamaracks belief lines he has them ostracized from the online group of graduates forbidding all contact with the offender until they correct their erroneous ways as he instructs.

I can't say whether or not he employs the same teach you nothing except what you learn by trial and error tactics that Tamarack uses. I would guess it has some of that from the descriptions I've heard. However I also got the impression there was some direct learning involved as well.

8/04/2011 11:33 PM  
Blogger Nemeses said...

Thanks, Jobu, for your informative contribution.

It's unfortunate that the outdoor education industry doesn't have some kind of certifying or governing body to create more oversight with these wilderness education schools.

That might help eliminate the anything-goes atmosphere that enables the kind of junk Tamarack Song peddles.

But until more customers demand such a thing, it just won't happen.

8/05/2011 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

clear up your feeling clear up your expectiations clear up your loves. clear up your neeths anth start talking with each other. start to talk to each other make circles anth harmony.

9/13/2011 5:15 AM  
Anonymous Afterthought said...

HI there.
I did a wild moon at teaching drum some years ago and pretty much agree with everything people are saying here.
Traumatic, pointless, painful, disorganized, "BAD VIBES" and the judgement-mirror argument being invoked at every turn to blame me for my suffering.
And in the month I hardly learned anything about wilderness, because the people I was with hardly knew much. And tamarack hardly showed his head. Why did I pay 800 for this???

I want to say that I did get a wonderful vibe from letty and just wanted to hug her all the time. But Tamarac felt cold and evil, essentially.

The people there had serious psychological problems too. Like going to town and binging on junk food, puking, and then coming back to the camp in the woods.

One of the most depressing months I've had.

Also crazy is their harsh attitude towards cultivating plants for food, yet they import bananas and feed them to the year longers. What crazyness.

11/23/2013 4:53 PM  

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