Established as a trading post in 1833 by the Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort Nisqually saw many important moments in history. The arrival of the fur brigades was one such event. Part business, part celebration, the fur brigades visited Fort Nisqually in 1855, brining furs from far-flung areas of the Inland and Pacific Northwest.
Beginning in 1983, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum has recreated this moment in history every year, except 2020, to commemorate the legacy of the fur trade at Fort Nisqually. This reenactment will once again recreate the lively visit of a large group of fur traders to the Fort. The 2023 Brigade Encampment will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on August 12-13.
“2023 marks the 89th year of Fort Nisqually being preserved at Point Defiance Park. In the early 1980s, the Fort changed directions to become the Living History Museum it is today,” said Tessa Bondi, Events and Volunteer Coordinator. “Brigade is our longest running event and we are thrilled to continue this tradition.”
Visitors will witness the arrival of the fur brigade, welcomed by a volley of musket fire. The event includes friendly competitions, “Punch and Judy” puppet shows, as well as music and dance – as documented during the 1855 Brigade. Visitors can participate in “Engagé for the Day,” learning heritage skills from living historians to earn their own contract from the Hudson’s Bay Company.
One of the event highlights includes the return of the Pacific Ohana Foundation for music and dance celebrating the many contributions of Hawaiians to the Hudson’s Bay Company and Fort Nisqually.