THE GOOD LIFE
A five-day float down the Main Salmon River, diving deep into what it means to live the Anishinaabe concept of a "good life"
hosted by Chris La Tray, Montana's Poet Laureate
21 - 26 JUNE 2024 | MAIN SALMON RIVER, IDAHO
Mino-bimaadiziwin: The Good Life
WHO WAS THIS COURSE CREATED FOR?
- Chris's 2024 Freeflow course is for thinkers, students, artists, educators, and curious people of all backgrounds.
- This is not necessarily a workshop that will make you a better writer, as it’s not about craft. Rather, it’s about ideas, and taking those ideas out into the world.
- No one who self-describes as “not really a writer” should be intimidated! Everyone is welcome.
"This course and the relationships I made with the group, our landscape, and the river have completely changed my life and mindset for the better. I started this course with an interest in writing, but not really feeling like an actual writer. Freeflow and Chris La Tray helped show me that I am, and gave me confidence."
ABOUT CHRIS LA TRAY
Chris La Tray is the Poet Laureate of the state of Montana. He is a Métis storyteller, descendent of the Pembina Band of the mighty Red River of the North, and an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Chris writes the newsletter “An Irritable Métis.” His books include One Sentence Journal (winner of the Montana Book Award) and Becoming Little Shell (out August 20 from Milkweed Editions).
MINO-BIMAADIZIWIN: THE GOOD LIFE
Mino-bimaadiziwin is the Anishinaabe word for "the good life." What does this mean for the Anishinaabe people, who have strived for it for millennia? It isn't a label; it is a being, what we speakers of English might call a verb. At its simplest, it is living a life in balance with the world around us. A life of peace, a life in good physical, emotional, and spiritual health. As the late Anishinaabe elder and teacher Edward Benton-Banai said, to live an Anishinaabe life is to live a life where "every footstep becomes a prayer." Every breath a prayer. Mino-bimaadiziwin is moving through life with this sense of spiritual connection to everyone.
What does it mean to the rest of us? How do we achieve this "good" life? What are our responsibilities to our communities and our relatives – human and non – along the way? Who do we look to so that we may find how it was done in the past, in ways we have maybe become disconnected from? To be in balance, at peace, and in good health, means that we must be in such state not just with ourselves, but with everyone around us. Is this even possible?
In preparation for our time together, consider the following questions:
- Who do you come from? Who are your ancestors? What did their "good" lives look like?
- Where do you come from? Where do you live, and what is your connection to this place?
- How do these two questions define the life you are living now?
- Who do you admire for how their life has affected your own?
- What does your "good life" look like?
These are some of the questions we will discuss, and write about, during our time together on the Salmon River.
Your program cost of $3499 includes:
- daily discussions and generative sessions with Chris La Tray + Freeflow faculty
- pre-course logistical support + substantive reading / media list
- transportation to the river from Missoula, Montana and back
- professional river guides, boats, paddling gear, waterproof bags, and safety gear
- nutritious meals and snacks, plus wine and coffee, from dinner on June 21 through lunch on June 26
- all permitting + access fees
- the full, university-accredited curriculum - whether you take the course for credit or not
Because we believe teachers and students need regenerative outdoor experiences more than most, Freeflow always extends a small discount to contracted educators and enrolled students. We also offer a small discount to our alumni. Because we believe in paying our instructors, facilitators, support staff, and guides an equitable wage, we do not offer individual discounts that compromise the integrity of those wages. If you need financial support, please consider applying for our scholarships.
The course also serves as an introduction to the Freeflow galaxy of writers, leaders, and thinkers. Our alumni also receive discounts on future Freeflow courses.
If you’d like to take the course for University of Montana credit, please let us know. We also encourage you to seek financial support from your organization or employer, as Freeflow courses may be taken for professional development or continuing education.
Guide gratuities are not included in the program cost. We strongly suggest giving your river guides some love, and we are happy to discuss norms for tipping – just ask.
Participants may either bring their own camping gear (tent + sleeping bag + sleeping pad), or borrow sleep kits from our outfitting partner. Please let us know your preference when you register.
Space on this adventure is limited to 12 participants. We will close registration once the roster is full. Please apply early.
All deposits and payments are non-refundable. Payment plans are available. Payments can be made by mailing in a good old-fashioned check, or by credit card or bank transfer via our online payment system.
CLAIM YOUR SPACE
Explore the good life, think big, and build creative community this summer. Send us your questions and we’ll get in touch right away. If you know you’re ready to apply, click the APPLY NOW button. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Read more about the registration process and payment options here.