Approved Jan 2009
Whereas certain individuals desire to relive the pleasures,
challenges and freedom enjoyed by the pioneering explorers of our
wilderness, to promote an inspiring standard of mutual
expectations and practices, and to recognize and encourage those
who have proven their dedication to these ideals, we the members
of the North American Frontiersmen, do hereby approve and support
the following Bylaws.
This association shall be known as the North American
Frontiersmen. The initials NAF may be used when the meaning is
The purpose of the North American Frontiersmen is to promote
personal honor, fellowship, and self-reliance by researching,
demonstrating and celebrating the skills and activities of North
American pioneers of the 1750 to 1843 period. NAF members are
experimental historians who rediscover and practice time-honored
techniques and knowledge, so that these skills are preserved for
the benefit of future generations.
Types of Membership
The North American Frontiersmen recognize the following
categories of membership:
A. Apprentice (Probationary Member – non voting): Has
been invited to join the NAF, and is fulfilling the requirements
for full membership.
B. Woodsman (Regular Member): Has demonstrated the basic
abilities needed to survive in the wilderness, and has earned
all participating rights of member-ship. Has a membership
number, may vote, and may hold any office except
Captain or Elder.
C. Mountaineer (Advanced Member): Has demonstrated
mastery of wilderness skills and leadership within the
Association, and is qualified to hold all offices.
D. Ranger (Junior Member – non voting): A person below
the age of 18, who has written parental permission to perform
the activities of an Apprentice. Probation shall extend to the
age of 18. Woodsman status may then be awarded if requirements
have been completed; otherwise the Ranger may pursue a regular
E. Joining at an Advanced Degree:
Candidates who can show
that they have fulfilled the appropriate requirements in similar
organizations, or through their own experience, may qualify to
enter the NAF at an advanced level of membership. Such
candidates must be sponsored by a member of similar or higher
degree, and shall demonstrate their accomplishments to the
satisfaction of their sponsor and the Council of Elders. Fees
will be payable only for the degree being applied for.
F. Waiver of Liability: All members agree to manage their
own risk during Association activities, holding the Association,
its officers, and owners of property used for events, free of
liability and damages.
in this association is by invitation only.
Prospects shall be sponsored by at least two Woodsman members, or one
To be accepted as Apprentice, the prospect must be at least 18 years
old, and demonstrate interest and motivation during at least two
outings with at least one sponsor, whose letter of recommendation with
properly filled out application, and fees as shown, shall be sent to
the Captain who shall present it to the Council of Elders for
The Apprentice must own and demonstrate safe use of a period
firearm or bow suitable for the gathering of food as well as defense,
and must have a basic period outfit (clothing, knife, fire kit,
bedroll, personal effects).
The Apprentice must complete the requirements for Woodsman membership
or be dropped. Requests for extension must be for good cause; the
sponsor shall provide a written explanation and obtain approval from
the Council of Elders.
sponsorship is crucial to the well-being of any invitational
association. Sponsors are fully and personally responsible for
upholding, demonstrating, and teaching the traditions and
standards of the Association, and should ensure that each
prospect receives full attention. Their certification that a
prospect is suitable and ready for advancement is a solemn
for Woodsman (Regular) Membership
A. To advance from
Apprentice to Woodsman membership, the prospect should actively
participate in as many events as possible, and the requirements
shown below must have been demonstrated to the sponsor's
satisfaction before the two-year probation period has ended:
1. Have a complete
- camping gear
- traveling gear
appropriate to the time
period, local climate, and conditions, suitable for living
indefinitely from the land, using authentic tools, materials and
2. Must have accumulated
15 days of total time in the field, under primitive conditions,
in increments of not less than 2 days and 2 nights, including
camps in all four seasons of the year.
- During these outings,
must demonstrate basic survival skills such as procuring
sustenance (hunting, gathering and fishing)
- procuring safe water
- making shelters
- starting fires (by at
least two methods)
- making cordage
- cooking for yourself
and others (with and without utensils)
- field maintenance of
- tools and weapons.
3. Complete a journey of
50 miles using methods typical of the frontier. Up to three
lesser journeys may be combined, but if so, 75 miles must be
B. To apply for Woodsman
- Apprentices must
complete a current Application Form, describing when, where,
and how they have met each requirement, including any
requirements met before the Apprentice's probation, and
remit the stated fee.
- The sponsors shall
forward this report to the officer shown on the application,
with their written recommendation for advancement, for
presentation to the Council of Elders, who will either
approve the application or return it for amendments.
- Approved applications
are forwarded to the Treasurer, who shall credit fees,
assign the next available membership number, notify the
member of advancement, and advise about the purchase of a
- The person will then be
called a Woodsman (regardless of gender).
A. To advance from Woodsman to Mountaineer member-ship,
the candidate must demonstrate exceptional qualities of
perseverance, survival skill, and leadership, by completing the
1. Travel a total of 200 miles using methods typical of the
frontier, in minimum increments of 10 miles, each outing to last
at least 2 days and 2 nights.
2. Survive four days and three nights alone, procuring enough
sustenance from the land to demonstrate the ability to continue
B. In addition, the candidate must demonstrate special
skills, experience, and service by completing 8 of the following
requirements, choosing at least four outdoor skills from the
1. Demonstrate saddling and riding a horse, including routine
trail care and overnight picketing, using period equipment.
2. Demonstrate ability to pack at least 90 lbs of goods on
horse or mule, and traverse at least 5 miles with the animal and
pack arriving in usable condition. Goods must be protected from
typical adverse conditions.
3. Demonstrate proficiency in packing at least 90 lbs in a
canoe and traversing 5 miles including at least one portage of
at least 300 yards.
4. Demonstrate proficiency in packing at least 200 lbs in a
period style two or more wheeled cart or wagon and transport
load safely at least 5 miles.
5. Using period methods, process enough hide(s) to make one
major item of clothing (shirt, pants, coat, dress) or enough for
one layer of bedding.
6. Make, at some point, each necessary article of clothing
from the skin out, using natural materials of the period,
including footwear and at least one hat, as required to survive
afield in all four seasons. Period materials may be purchased,
but must be hand-sewn by the candidate.
7. Within 30 minutes, hit a 9" target six times at 50
yards using a period muzzle-loading rifle, at 30 yards using a
period smoothbore, or at 15 yards using pistol or period bow and
8. Organize and conduct two primitive NAF events, lasting at
least 2 days and 2 nights, hosting a cumulative total of at
least six persons. Alternatively, organize and host one National
9. Organize a meet involving at least 4 members, to
demonstrate and practice the skills of a craft or trade useful
on the frontier, such as blacksmithing, tanning, tailoring,
saddle-making, boat-building, etc.
10. Complete one term of office or serve on a committee or
staff position to the Captain's and the Council of Elders'
11. Write and submit a 1000-word research paper to the Senior
Editor on the life and times of the frontier, which may include
lessons learned by actual experience, suitable for publication.
Footnotes and bibliography are required if appropriate to the
12. Submit four publishable reports or articles of any length
to the Senior Editor that are approved by the Council of Elders
during their candidate review.
13. Conduct at least three hours of educational presentations
for the public.
14. Define and complete a significant accomplishment of one's
own choosing, approved by the Council of Elders, that represents
and advances the ideals of this association.
C. To gain Mountaineer membership, Woodsman applicants
shall complete a current Mountaineer application form, with
statements describing when, where, and how they met each
requirement, enclose the stated fees, and present it to the
Council of Elders, who will either approve the application or
return it for amendments. Upon approval, the Treasurer shall
credit fees, update the roster, and notify the member of
A. Membership certificates will be provided to each
person joining or advancing within the organization.
B. Membership medallions will be available for purchase
by members who have been awarded a membership number.
Dismissal of Members
A. Probationary Members may be dismissed at any time upon
written recommendation of all sponsors and a 3/4 vote of the
Council of Elders.
B. Full members may be removed after a hearing and
unanimous vote of the Council of Elders for the following
1. Dishonesty in dealing with other members, or in conduct of
Association affairs, as testified by 2 or more witnesses.
2. Slandering another member, as testified by 2 or more
3. Falsifying any membership requirement as testified by 2 or
4. Conduct that exposes the Association or its members to
harm or injury, liability or legal penalties.
5. The Elders shall have the authority to determine what
additional actions constitute a sufficiently serious offense to
justify dismissal of a member.
Council of Elders
(Membership and Standards Committee)
A. Purpose: The Council of Elders shall ensure the
long-term welfare of the NAF by controlling membership and
shaping the organization’s structure.
B. Composition: The Council comprises four members
of Mountaineer degree, who serve by mutual consent, as long as
C. Rules of Order.
1. Vacancies shall be filled by unanimous vote of the
2. A Council member may be removed for incapacitation or
malfeasance, only upon unanimous vote of the Board of Directors
and the remaining Elders.
3. The Council shall appoint one member to chair meetings and
be the formal point of contact to the organization for all
4. A Council member holding an executive office shall not
vote in Council decisions regarding that office.
5. Except as noted, decisions shall require a majority vote
of the members qualified to vote on that issue.
Powers and Duties:
1. Review and rule on all applications for membership and
2. Serve as a court of appeal for all disputes between
members and/or officers. Council members who are party to
disputes shall not participate in deliberation and voting.
3. Appoint replacement officers for those unable to serve the
final year of their term.
4. Approve the Senior Editor.
5. Approve all emblems, medallions, and promotional
literature that represents the NAF as a whole.
6. Approve changes in the membership fee structure, upon
presentation of a proposal from the Board of Directors.
7. May reverse decisions of any officer, or the Board of
Directors, by unanimous vote.
8. Approve, by unanimous vote, any change in the structure of
the Board of Directors.
Board of Directors
A. Purpose: The Board of Directors manages the day-to-day
affairs of the NAF, and as elected positions, their decisions
should reflect and represent the will of the membership.
B. Composition: The Board comprises the functions of
Captain, Chief Factor, Secretary, and Treasurer. However,
specific offices may be added or combined by the Council of
C. Rules of Order.
1. A quorum of more than half is required to conduct business.
2. Actions shall require a majority vote of the authorized
number of board members (2 out of 3, 3 out of 4, etc) unless
required to be unanimous.
2. Motions shall be introduced, discussed and refined to the
satisfaction of the proposer, who shall then ask for a second, to
be followed by a vote.
3. Voting percentages as required in these Bylaws shall apply
to the total number of members on the body, regardless of the
number of members actually present. A vote that fails to obtain
the required majority shall be continued and presented to the
entire body at the next meeting.
4. No officer may receive a salary or payment for time spent in
performance of duties. However, out-of-pocket expenses may be
reimbursed if approved by the Board and accompanied by
D. Powers and Duties.
1. Captain (President):
a. Responsible for the overall coordination and fulfillment
of Association objectives, having full authority to act in the
best interests of the Association when time is of the essence.
Actions not authorized herein shall be reviewed by the Board
and/or Council at the earliest opportunity and are subject to
b. Coordinates the activities of the Chief Factor and the
c. Presides over general meetings at National Encampments.
d. Presides over meetings of the Board of Directors.
e. With the Chief Factor, appoints committees, always naming
an odd number of persons.
2. Chief Factor (Vice President):
a. Assists the Captain in performing his duties of office.
b. Succeeds a Captain who cannot fulfill his term of office.
c. Responsible for local management of Association affairs.
May propose, for Board approval, local representatives (Factors)
who will preside over an agreed-upon region, provide a point of
contact for membership inquiries, coordinate events, encourage
the formation of local Companies, and report back to the Chief
Factor on local conditions.
a. Receives and replies to all inquiries regarding membership
standards and procedures, assists applicants in obtaining
current forms, and directs applications to be returned in
accordance with the application procedures approved by the
Council of Elders.
b. Attends Board of Director meetings whenever possible, and
is responsible for obtaining accurate minutes.
c. Maintains current copies of Membership application forms,
current fee schedules, list of Regional Factors, official
reports, voting outcomes, and other Association documents, and
provides copies upon request.
d. Prepares and mails election ballots to the membership, as
per Article XI and XVI.
e. Fulfills any other expected duties of an association
secretary as may be determined by the Council of Elders.
a. Receives and credits all dues, fees, and donations against
a permanent roster of all members, active and inactive.
b. Updates the roster as the Council of Elders issues
decisions, notifies members of results, and provides refund of
fees with rejected applications.
c. Maintains a separate banking account for Association
d. Remains prepared to answer questions about Association
finances on an open-book basis.
e. Recommends if changes in dues or fees are required for the
coming year, sufficient to cover expenses and maintain a prudent
reserve not exceeding one year's expenses.
f. Disburses Association funds using procedures established
by the Board of Directors, keeping accurate records of all
g. The Association having no commercial purpose, and
comprising recreational activities supported by volunteer
efforts and fees covering only direct expenses, its affairs
shall be considered as personal business not subject to tax
reporting or deductions. Equipment used to conduct business
shall be owned by individuals. Reimbursement for supplies and
services may be applied for with supporting receipts.
h. In the event of incorporation, the Treasurer shall
supervise preparation of the required annual tax returns.
Term of Office and Elections
A. Term of office is 3 years for all elected
Officers. The initial term of office shall start on Jan 1,
1. If an officer becomes unable to serve within the first two
years, a special election shall be held using the process
described below. In the final year of office, or if necessary to
conduct an election, a replacement shall be appointed by the
Council of Elders.
B. Elections. Campaigning shall be conducted in
the final six months of each term. Ninety days before the end of
each term, the Captain shall appoint an election committee of
three members, who shall designate a return address for ballots.
At least sixty days before the end of the term, the Secretary
shall send election ballots to all active full members, listing
all candidates who have submitted their names, along with their
election statements and qualifica-tions. Ballots shall show the
return address, and a deadline date 30 days prior to the end of
term, and must be postmarked by the deadline, with seven
additional days allowed for delivery. Candidates who receive the
largest number of votes (a plurality) shall be elected. The
election committee shall issue its report within 15 days of the
deadline, thus allowing 15 days for the new officers to make an
C. Addresses. Members desiring to vote shall ensure that
the roster contains their current address at the time ballots
are to be mailed. Members who do not return ballots may be
dropped from active status and will not receive further ballots
and mailings. To be reinstated, inactive members must contact
the Treasurer, providing a statement desiring re-activation and
a current address for the roster.
Publications and Research Center
A. Editor. The Captain shall propose a Senior
Editor, to be approved by the Council of Elders, to manage all
publication and research activities of the Association.
B. Website Advisor. The Captain shall appoint a
Website Advisor, to be approved by the Council of Elders, to
provide a resource to resolve problems for the Editor's
activities of the Association.
1. An Association Newsletter, “Broadside”, shall
be published as required to keep the membership informed of
activities and elections.
Local and National Encampments
A. The NAF National Encampment will be held each year at
a time and place proposed by the Captain and approved by a
majority of the Board of Directors.
B. Local Companies (Association Chapters).
1. Members may organize themselves as desired to promote and
conduct Association activities, pursue membership requirements,
and meet with other members. Such Companies shall elect a Factor
who will report on activities and accomplishments to the
Regional and Chief Factors.
Guidelines for Events and Activities
A. Dress and Equipage.
1. Members' outfits and equipment shall use material and
designs available in the time period of interest. When original
materials are no longer available or advisable, the nearest
modern equivalent may be substituted, such as steel for wrought
iron, but such substitutions shall not be for mere convenience
and shall perform in a similar manner.
2. Hygiene supplies, water filters, medicines and appliances
required to maintain health and correct for disabilities are
allowed, but should be kept out of sight whenever possible.
B. Conduct at Activities and Events:
1. The overall conduct of a period event will be such that a
visitor from the past would feel at home. All camps, events, and
activities should be conducted with this standard in mind.
2. No discharge of firearms is permitted in camp, except on
established ranges or for organized blank salutes.
3. Cameras are allowed, but should be used with discretion
and concealed when not in use.
4. The NAF leaves all campsites in as natural a condition as
possible. All game laws shall be observed.
Association Motto and Emblems
The Pineapple, and Clasped Hands,
Amendments to these Bylaws
After initial approval by the membership, amendments to these
Bylaws shall require a 3/4 vote of the Council of Elders to frame
and issue a ballot to all full members, with pro-and-con
arguments, which must then be approved within 30 days by a 3/4
majority of returned ballots, comprising at least half of active
Definitions and Rules
A. Where used in the text, the following terms shall be
defined as follows:
1. Period: refers to practices, materials, techniques,
and customs known to be in use in North America in the years
1750 to 1843.
2. Primitive: refers to practices, materials,
techniques, and customs typical of the American frontier within
the time period, and in particular, refers to the basic
equipment used by woodsmen to survive away from the settlements.
3. Authentic: Using designs, materials and fabrication
methods that emulate those known to be in use during our period.
Items that were traditionally purchased from specialist
workshops may be made using labor-saving methods, as long as the
results are similar to historic methods.
4. Dress: Appropriate clothing and equipment that fits
the time period and activities that you have chosen.
5. Gender: Participation is open to both sexes on
6. Probation: the period of time designated for
applicants to fulfill the requirements for full membership.
During Probation, participation is under the control of the
applicant’s sponsor(s). Attendance at events is encouraged,
ideally with sponsor present; otherwise the applicant is
expected to respect the advice of members present.
7. Full Membership: refers to rights enjoyed by
Woodsman and Mountaineer members of active status: voting in
elections, sponsoring new members, receipt of publications,
access to Association records and minutes, right to request
hearings and place motions before the Board, and ability to hold
8. Active Member: applied to those who update their
address on the roster, and return ballots. Failure to return
ballots may result in being dropped to inactive status. Inactive
members do not receive mailings or ballots, and must petition
for reinstatement per Articles XII-D and XIV-B.
9. Full Days: Specified durations, such as “2 days
and 2 nights” shall be uninterrupted, and the first and last
day must add up to one full day. Individual “full days” may
be counted if all but two hours of daylight is dedicated to
Final #34 01/10/2009